Monday, March 19, 2018

1) President Jokowi meets Indonesian citizens in New Zealand

2) Consensus should resolve objection against Papua mosque tower: Minister
3) Police, officials call for calm over minaret row in Jayapura

1) President Jokowi meets Indonesian citizens in New Zealand

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Visiting Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) told the country`s citizens living in New Zealand about Papua and the diaspora in a meeting with them at Amopura Gathering, Te Papa Museum in Wellington on Monday.

The president also told the Indonesian citizens about his experience when carrying out working visits to various underdeveloped regions in Indonesia, according to Bey Machmudin, head of the presidential press bureau, in a statement received by ANTARA on Monday.

A number of Indonesian citizens in the meeting, asked questions ranging from Papua to diaspora issues.

"Bapak (Mr) President, what is your motivation that makes you so often come to Papua?" The question was raised by Fransiscus Orlando, one of the citizens of Papua origin who lives in New Zealand.

The president, who was accompanied by First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo and Foreign Minister Marsudi, responded that being a leader, he wanted to see directly about condition of society and infrastructure there. According to him, eastern Indonesia has been too long forgotten and overlooked.

"One and a half months after being sworn in, I immediately flew to Papua. To date, I have come to Papua seven times and it is the province I visit most often. Whereas from Jakarta to Papua takes six hours. But this is the territory of the Unitary State of Republic of Indonesia that should draw attention," he said.

The President also shared his stories and experiences regarding his working visits to various disadvantaged regions in Indonesia. One of them was about his visit to Nduga District in Papua.

Reported by Agus Salim
Editor: Heru Purwanto

2) Consensus should resolve objection against Papua mosque tower: Minister
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin has called for a consensus to resolve the objection against a mosque`s tower constructed in Sentani, Papua Province.

"Resolve it through a consensus. We will support the steps taken by prominent religious and traditional figures as well as officials of the local administration to arrive at a common consensus," Saifuddin noted in a press statement, here, Monday.

The Association of Churches in Jayapura has demanded the demolition of a tower of Al Aqsha Mosque located in Sentani, Jayapura, as it is higher than the church buildings in the area.

The minister said he had contacted several religious leaders in Papua and supported a plan to hold a productive dialog involving the concerned parties.

"I have communicated with Papua`s prominent Muslim figures, the chairman of the Indonesian Churches Association, and the Inter-Faith Harmony Forum in Papua to help solve the problem," the minister stated.

The unity of the nation should be prioritized in dealing with the issue, he added.

The minister has instructed his personnel in Papua to help facilitate the dialog and negotiation processes to deal with the problem.

Reported by Anom Prihantoro
Editor: Heru Purwanto

2) Police, officials call for calm over minaret row in Jayapura
Nethy Dharma Somba The Jakarta Post
Jayapura | Mon, March 19, 2018 | 07:37 pm

The Jayapura Police said Monday that security in the regency and in Papua in general was under control after the Jayapura Churches Association protested via letter the height of the Al-Aqsa Mosque minaret in Sentani, Jayapura regency.
The minaret row did not affect the security there, the police said.
“People carried on with their activities as usual, unfazed by the letter,” Jayapura Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Victor Dean Mackbon told The Jakarta Post on Monday. The regency administration, the police and the interfaith forum in Jayapura have been in talks to resolve the conflict.
The executive head of Nahdlatul Ulama in Papua, Toni Wanggai, called for everyone, especially Muslims, to keep calm and not let the protest provoke them. He said his organization was in talks with the church association and the Jayapura administration.
“We are sure we can find a good solution. Papua has a good track record of communicating and finding solutions to problems,” Toni said Monday.
He said the letter was likely issued after a communication impasse.
John Gobay, a Papuan councillor, said the protest from the church did not damage interfaith relations in Papua. “I think it is about some miscommunication,” he said. “We hope this is not going to be like in other provinces, where groups reject the construction of worship places of other religions."
Aman Hasibuan, a Sentani resident, said he went on with his regular activities as normal and believed others did the same.
Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said Sunday that the protest could be followed up with dialogue. The ministry’s press release stated that the letter included a demand to dismantle the minaret because it was higher than the churches in the area. In the letter, the association said it wanted the minaret to be lower.
“I have communicated with Muslim figures in Papua, the head of Indonesian Communion of Churches and the Papua Interfaith Forum to settle the matter,” he said.
He said in settling the matter, everyone must follow prevailing laws, customary laws and local values.
Signed by the head of the Jayapura Churches Association, Robbi Depondoye, the association gave a 14-day deadline to the regency administration, or else they would take their own action.
In July 2015, there was a dispute between Christians and Muslims during Idul Fitri in Tolikara regency, Papua. Following the arrival of the police, a number of warning shots were fired and the situation deteriorated into a riot. A number of kiosks and houses and a small prayer room were burned down in the incident. One victim was killed and 11 others were reportedly injured by gunfire. (evi)

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