Rights activist, liberal Muslim figure join Dems structure
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 06/17/2010 5:20 PM | Headlines

Ulil Abshar Abdalla: (JP)Ulil Abshar Abdalla: (JP)Democratic Party chairman 
Anas Urbaningrum announced on Thursday the lineup of the party's structure, 
which includes rights activist Rachland Nasidik and young liberal Muslim figure 
Ulil Abshar Abdalla.

Ulil will head the party's Policy and Strategy Development Center, while 
Rachland will serve as secretary of the party's head of human rights promotion 
and protection.

Also joining the Democratic Party's central board of executives are General 
Elections Commission (KPU) member Andi Nurpati, National Police chief advisor 
Kastorius Sinaga and property analyst Panangian Simanungkalit.

Rachland is former chairman of human rights group Imparsial, which was 
co-founded by Munir Said Thalib, a noted rights activist who was assassinated 
aboard a Garuda flight in 2004.

Ulil, a Boston University graduate, is a prominent Nahdlatul Ulama young figure 
who is known for his pluralist view. Hardline Muslim groups once declared his 
blood halal when he promoted liberal thoughts of Islam. He also founded the 
Liberal Islamic Network (JIL).

Political analyst Burhanuddin Muhtadi of the Indonesian Survey Institute said 
the entry of activists and independent figures to the country's largest 
political party reflected their option to fight for their causes within the 
political system.

"Nevertheless political parties are a main pillar of democracy which can 
facilitate their fight for their idealism," Burhanuddin told kompas.com.

The new Democratic Party structure comprises 130 executives, including 
secretary general Edhie "Ibas" Baskoro Yudhoyono and deputy chairmen Jhonny 
Allen Marbun and Max Sopacua.

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