zondag 13 april 2014

Suryadharma Ali

SDA as he is called sometimes was born in Jakarta, 1956 and did his academic studies at IAIN Syarif Hidyatullah, where he graduated in 1984. So, he was a student here when I was a lecturer between March 1981 and mid-1983. At the same also Komaruddin Hidayat, Azyumardi Azra, Lies Marcoes Mustafsira, and Din Syamsuddin were graduating or already young lecturers.I do not remember ever to have seen the name of Suryadharma Ali. He was was between 1985-1999 a manager at Hero Supermarket, where we also bought our food (beer, wine, weekend-food, because the pembantu went to the local market for daily meals). In that period Jakarta was the only region where the single Muslim party of the country had a majority of the votes: first in the 1983 elections, then several times later on.
SDA became a top member of PPP, minister of Cooperation in 2004, for Religion in 2009. In 2007 he took over the general leadership of the party from Hamzah Haz, known as a polygamist, traditional, not really a strong figure.
SDA is also not a strong figure in the national politics. His party gained 6,7% of the votes (with PKB 9,1%; PAN 7,5%; PKS 7%; only PBB had a lower section of the voters from the five Muslim parties: 1,5%).
Suryadharma is an opportunist: he supported at several occasions Prabowo of GERINDRA, apparently hoping to find some support there.
Suryadharma was someone who not really defended religious pluralism and freedom of religion. He strongly condemned Ahmadi and Shi'i Muslims. They should 'return to Sunnji Islam'. As to Christians, Hindus and Buddhist he was not so negative but not a true defender of religious neutrality.

It will be difficult to have a new and better government in Indonesia. Megawati had made promises to Prabowo in 2009: he should support her (without result) and she promised to support him for presidency in 2014. What will come about this in the negotiations, now Jokowi is the major candidate for PDIP?
Obama has a weak position in a divided parliament. In Dutch parliament the ruyling government also has a lack of support in the senate and must make compromises. It is clear that religions has not disappeared from Indonesian politics, with some 32% of the votes.

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