Ulemas conveys muslims` "grudges" to President Jokowi

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Ulemas asked President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to resolve the nations problems with justice of the law instead of with politics.

On Tuesday, a group of 20 ulemas (Islamic scholars) from various areas met with the president here discussing a wide range of issues from social justice, law to politics.

"Thanks God we, ulemas, could talk in a friendly way with the President," KH Syukron Makmun, head of the Darurohman Islamic Boarding School said after the meeting with Jokowi at the presidential office.

KH Syukron said Jokowi even asked the ulemas to speak about any "grudges" they held against the governments way of handling matters related to legal, political and social justice issues faced by Muslims in the country.

"We want the president not to use politics in seeking to resolve national problems," KH Syukron said, adding political settlement would not hold long, depending on political condition.

Indonesia, which is made up of plural communities needs a permanent peace not something abstract, he said.

"Therefore, we expect the president to hold a meeting of religious leaders to seek an agreement, not only harmony, harmony and harmony without a reference to hold on with," he added.

The principles of harmony, he said, is that all religions are right according to their respective followers, he said.

"As a consequence, we respect each other, appreciate each other faith. Therefore, we must not seek to covert those already hold certain religious faith. We respect people with their faith. We should not ask them to change their religion," he said.

He also said that followers of certain religions should not be offended by the teachings of other religions written in their respective holy books.

Religious communities should seek not to offend each others feelings such as in building houses of worship, he added.

"The feelings also have to be respected. I said to the president that a big mosque should not be built for a small number of Muslims in a predominantly Christian community as it would offend them.

"On the other hands, five to ten Christians living in a place of thousands of Muslims should not build a church. This is to give us something to hold on with for tolerance," he added.

In social justice the ulemas called for equality among all Indonesian people, he said.

"We also asked that property donated for religious purpose is exempted from tax . We ulemas would not lie about anything. We talked frankly . Thanks God, Mr Jokowi agreed," he said.

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, who accompanied the president at the meeting, said the president thanked the ulemas for their "hard work" in maintai8ning religious harmony.

"Basically, the president expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the contributions the ulemas have given in preserving religious life in Indonesia," Lukman said.

Among the Islamic scholars taking part in the meeting were KH Irfan Wahid, leader of the Tebu Ireng Islamic Boarding House; KH Sanusi Baco, Nahdlatul Ulama leader from of South Sulawesi; Hardadi, a Muslim intellectual ; KH Syukorn Makmun, head of the Darurohman Islamic boarding house in Jakarta, KH Ahmad Musthofa, head of the Modern Pabelan Islamic boarding house, Magelang; KH Abdullah Zaidi, head of the Al Irsyad Islamic boarding house, Jakarta; KH Muhtadi Dimyati, head of the Cidahu Pandeglang Islamic boarding house, Banten; Proff Maman Abdurrahman, chairman of MAJ and adviser of Persatuan Islam (Persis); KH Jeje Jaenudin, and deputy chairman of Persatuan Islam.(*)