Over the past few years, persecution against religious minorities has risen. Ahmadi Muslims have been refused places to bury their dead, church congregations have had their church buildings torn down, and Shia Muslims have been chased out of their own villages. But they are finding hope in the new president, Joko Widodo, better known as Jokowi. He has vowed to defend religious minorities. But these are not just words, as a bill is now being drafted that will guarantee religious minorities protection from persecution. How?, you ask. The bill will outlaw the destruction of houses of worship, and will protect all minorities, not just the recognized ones under the constitution.
This new law is being pushed by new Religious Affairs Minister, Lukman Hakim Saifuddin. The bill is expected to go before parliament in April. Some are concerned that even if the bill passes parliament, local authorities will continue to pass discriminatory laws. Other people are questioning Jokowi’s long-term commitment to helping minorities because of the new administration’s focus on economic development.
Pray for this law to pass, and that it will trickle all the way down to local government.
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