The Jakarta Post
The National Police and Islamic leaders have called on the public to remain calm and stay united amid what appears to be growing tensions ahead of simultaneous regional elections on Feb. 15.
"[Differences] are common in a democracy. You may have different candidate preferences, but don’t let those differences divide us,” National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said Friday.
Tito was speaking at Central Java Police headquarters in Semarang at an event also attended by thousands of Islamic leaders, scholars and students.
Tito called on Muslims to follow the Prophet Muhammad’s teaching for initiating the Charter of Medina. "At that time, the Prophet Muhammad made a deal with non-Muslims in Medina to respect each other's religion. This time around, we surely could follow the example of our prophet for promoting tolerance,” Tito went on.
"Democracy and the regional elections should not divide us. They should unite us instead,” he added.
Meanwhile, Habib Muhammad Luthfi bin Yahya, a notable Islamic scholar from Pekalongan in Central Java, told the story of local Islamic propagator Sunan Gunung Jati, who tirelessly promoted tolerance. Habib said Sunan Gunung Jati's influence could be seen at the Sunan Gunung Jati sacred tomb. "There are two groups of people who carry out cemetery pilgrimage – Muslims and non-Muslims. They pray in their own way, everything is fine. Nobody feels annoyed,” said Habib.
"Sunan Gunung Jati has passed away, but we still can feel his influence in uniting the country,” he added. (trw)
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