Interfaith figures call on people to fight "national bankruptcy"

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - A number of interfaith figures on Thursday called on the Indonesian people to rise to fight what they described as "the current national bankruptcy marked by religious intolerance, corruption and increasing poverty,"

"We must rise to fight national bankruptcy. This must be dealt with together," one of the figures, Ahmad Syafii Maarif, said at a press conference on "Reflection on National Awakening Day" here on Thursday. Indonesia will observe its National Awakening Day on May 20.

Maarif, who is the former chief of one of Indonesia`s biggest Islamic organizations Muhammadiyah, said a lot of corruption cases had not yet been settled including the Bank Century case allegedly due to political manipulations.

"Because many cases have not been settled we have been unceasingly making speculations," he said.

Maarif also said that religious intolerance is now rising marked by hardliners freely spreading their exclusive ideology, committing acts of violence and oppression against those they do not like.

The general chairman of the Bishops` Conference, Mgr. D Situmorang, meanwhile said the Indonesian nation is currently facing bankruptcy in morality, nationalism, economy and patriotism.

He said the government was claiming that the national economy was growing but in reality many people were still living in conditions below the poverty line.

"This means we are in a state of economic bankruptcy ," he said.

The interfaith figures called on public officials to be more responsible in leading the nation, to work without reserve and not to hesitate to adopt policies which are based on the four national pillars, namely the 1945 Constitution, the Pancasila state ideology, the principles of Unity in Diversity and Unitary State of Indonesia.

They e also called on the government to change the direction of economic development so that people at the grassroot level could feel they could make progress and live properly.

The interfaith figures said the government or public officials must have the courage to prioritize the eradication of corruption and free the country from money politics.

"We hope the legislative to give full support to such efforts," they said.

Among the interfaith leaders at the conference were Salahuddin Wahid (the chief of Tebu Ireng Islamic boarding school in Jombang, East Java), the chief of the Indonesian Communion of Churches, Andreas A Yewanggoe, Xs Tjhie Tjay Ing (a Confucianist figure) and Abdul Mu`ti, secretary of the Muhammadiyah executive board. (*)

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