The President needs to correct and evaluate (the performance of) his ministers, including that (of the religious affairs minister) so as not to cause unrest among Muslims,
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (ICMI) has made a request to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) to evaluate the performance of Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, who has compared azan (prayer call) with dog barking.

"The President needs to correct and evaluate (the performance of) his ministers, including that (of the religious affairs minister), so as not to cause unrest among Muslims," ICMI Deputy Chairman for Politics, International Relations, Law and Human Rights Andi Anzhar Cakra Wijaya said in a written statement here on Friday.

Wijaya said ICMI believed the minister's statement has caused unrest among Muslims.

As a religious affairs minister, Yaqut should make cool, peaceful and wise statements, he said.

"In expressing ideas, the religious affairs minister should be more wise, rather than creating uproar and unrest among the people (Muslims), " Wijaya said.

Perhaps the purpose of the statement was well-intended, he added.

"However, the way he delivered the statement by comparing azan with dog barking is not correct," Wijaya noted.

To this end, ICMI appealed to President Jokowi to evaluate the performance of the religious affairs minister soon and, if necessary, replace him with a figure acceptable to Muslims, who make up the majority group in the country, he said.

Suspending and replacing the religious affairs minister is very important since the public, particularly Muslims, have reacted strongly to the statement, which can be categorized as a blasphemy and violation of the information and electronic transaction law, he said.

"ICMI appeals to the President to be serious about handling the case. Don't await until Muslims across Indonesia strongly react and make state stability unconducive. It is the President that has the prerogative right to reshuffle the cabinet. Don't let the wheel of the government be disrupted due to the unconducive situation as a result of the performance of his minister that has created public unrest," he said.

Wijaya, one-time president of the International Humanitarian Law Committee while he was a member of the Inter-Parliament Cooperation Board (BKSAP) at the House of Representatives (DPR), suggested that the President to advise his ministers to focus on their jobs to ensure the government will run well.

Translator: Tasrief Tarmizi, Suharto
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2022