Yellow card for President Yudhoyono
Al Makin, Yogyakarta | Mon, 08/30/2010 10:15 AM | Opinion 

Due to Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (SBY) sluggish and infirm response to 
religious violence and intolerance, a yellow card should be issued. A whistle 
should be blown. Halt the train for a moment, time for reflection.

A referee should warn Ruhut Sitompul - a Democrat politician and a member of 
the House of Representatives who fished in the murky water to test the public - 
not to even think of a third term. 

"Behold SBY!" (Please forgive the referee who substitutes Ruhut's name for SBY, 
or on the other way around). "Your record is yellow, close to red." Be serious.

A yellow card means warning, whereas a red one means stop - enough is enough. 
Please, never turn the yellow into a red card. A green card - meaning peace, 
environmentally friendly, a card issued by the US government to allow non-US 
citizens to work there, and that the show must go on - is preferable.

Ruhut beat the drum, echoing the possibility of SBY's third term, ironically 
amid the fire directed at SBY's lame duck. The nickname "Mr. Doubter" lingers. 

Minority groups, for example, members of Ahmadiyah and Christians, become the 
target of attack by the hardliners, for example the Islamic Community Forum 
(FUI) andthe Islam Defenders Front (FPI), whose leaders and members never give 
up exhibiting their shallow rhetoric in the public.

When a chance came, they seized it. There is always a temptation in their 
minds, whenever streets and roads are empty,  to hold mass rally. They feel 
invited whenever an issue can be twisted. 

Issues surrounding Ahmadiyah and Indonesian Christians, which the FPI still 
want to sell, are old. Indeed, nobody, except the FPI and the like, want to buy 

True, until early 20th century, Muslims and Christians were suspicious of each 
other, due to complicated elements of the native Indonesians, the Dutch 
government, and inter-religious relations. 

Th. Sumartana, a pioneer of inter-religious dialogue, has touched upon this 

However, Christianization in Indonesia, which concerned both most Nahdlatul 
Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah leaders from the 1970s to 1980s, is a sheer myth, 
which the New Order regime used very well in the effort of managing the 
conflict between Muslims and Christians for the benefits of the government (it 
sounds like divide et impera, divide and rule). An Indonesian scholar, 
Mujiburrahman, wrote this.

Back to the point. Mosques and churches, built by minorities, are now in 
danger. Religious harmony and tolerance are in peril. Religious and ethnic 
diversity, which should be part of Indonesians' identity, are threatened.

It is a paradox that the Americans are now discussing whether a mosque can be 
built at Ground Zero, the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Manhattan, New York 
city - the target of the 9/11 attack. The Americans are debating how to 
differentiate between true Islam and al-Qaeda, between moderate Muslims and 
radicals, and between religion and fundamentalism.

But here in Indonesia, people are witnessing that mosques and churches have 
been destroyed. People performing religious rites are ambushed. What a shame.

Once again, in his second term, can SBY appear in the public with steadfastness 
and audacity? 

In theory, he must be. He was elected with a landslide victory. The Indonesians 
gave mandate wholeheartedly. However, it is up to SBY alone to show us that he 
deserves this second chance.

Thus, the speed should be accelerated, the seatbelt should be fastened, the 
steadfastness should be shown, and the audacity should be exhibited. All of 
this should be done, before a red card becomes a theme in the public.

Note that SBY and all his staff know very well that only one factor such as 
religious intolerance will unlikely lead the President to step down. 

You know, both Sukarno's and Soeharto's tumble was due to more complex factors, 
for example, the economy, and political and social mayhem. Nonetheless, keep 
reminding SBY to guard our harmonious diversity.

Do not forget that there are also more issues in the limelight.

SBY's commitment to eradication of corruption is lately questionable. Some of 
those who were jailed due to corruption cases have been granted remission.

Additionally, the dignity of Indonesians may have been disturbed again, and the 
government's reputation in defending its own citizens and solving the problem 
appropriately is at stake. 

Hundreds of Indonesian migrant workers are faced with the death penalty in 

Ruhut never dares to announce the third term of SBY in a microphone with 
confidence. Behave Ruhut, behold SBY.

The writer is a lecturer at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga, 

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