Jokowi's government must preserve inter-religious harmony: Sinta Nuriyah

Jokowi's government must preserve inter-religious harmony: Sinta Nuriyah

Wife of the late President Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) Mm. Shinta Nurriyah Wahid pair to cap her husband Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on the 9th anniversary of the Wahid Institute in Jakarta, Thursday (26 September 2013). (ANTARA/Andika Wahyu)

Magelang, Central Java (ANTARA News) - Former Indonesian first lady Sinta Nuriah Wahid reminded the new government of Presiden Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on Saturday about the importance of preserving inter-religious harmony in the country.

"While intolerance must be driven away, inter-religious harmony must be safeguarded well and religious freedom, preserved," she said at the True Inter-Faith Brotherhood congress organized by the Semarang archdiocese.

When asked if a special directorate should be set up for the purpose, the wife of former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur) stated that it would not be necessary.

"The presence of the ministry of religious affairs is enough, as long as its officials carry out their duties well," she remarked.

Wahid also called for continued dialog among followers of different religions to maintain harmonious relations.

Furthermore, she praised the congress efforts to maintain inter-faith harmony.

"Activities like this (the assembly) are very important and should be engaged in by everyone, regardless of their religion or ethnic background," she reiterated, adding that everyone should promote a sense of religious unity in the country, which is being divided by greed.

During the Islamic fasting month, the former first lady pointed out that she had held gatherings where people could break their fast with many groups in the society, including non-Muslim ones, with the aim to promote a sense true religious brotherhood.

"I always said it during the month of Ramadhan, aiming to create (a sense of) true brotherhood between human beings," she stated.

Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla were inaugurated as the countrys new president and vice president, respectively, on Monday, replacing Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Boediono, who had led the country for a decade.

(Reporting by Heru Suyitno/Uu.INE/KR-BSR/H-YH)

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