2014 Map of Indonesia. Wikimedia Commons
The Jakarta Globe-Sept 24, 2018
The nomination of Ma’ruf Amin as President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s running mate in next year’s election has caught the nation by surprise. There were mixed reactions, with some wondering why the good president would choose an elderly Muslim scholar as his running mate. It is true that the Republic of Indonesia was established on the pillars of Islam and nationalism, but that was in the early days, during the formation of the state, when Muslims and nationalists were united in their struggle against colonialism. Today, 73 years later, Indonesia is facing what its people fear most – rising radicalism and growing religious intolerance. Many now see the nation being divided into two camps, one pushing for the adoption of hardline values – some even desiring the establishment of a caliphate under the pretext that the state does not adequately accommodate the aspirations of the Muslim majority – while the other camp is tirelessly working to preserve the official state ideology Pancasila, uphold the national motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, or Unity in Diversity, and improve the economy and the people’s welfare.
First published in: The Jakarta Globe