Catholic Intellectuals Discuss Economic Challenges  

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  • Muliawan Margadana, Head of ISKA Presidium. Photo: ISKA

    Muliawan Margadana, Head of ISKA Presidium. Photo: ISKA

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - In addition to economic and environmental crisis, President Joko Widodo’ one-year-old government has other issues to attend, including sectarian violence and religious intolerance. The recent case of church burning in Singkil, Aceh has captured the attention of the Catholic Intellectual Association of Indonesia (ISKA), as well as other international groups on intolerance issues in Indonesia.

    ISKA stated that the world acknowledged that Aceh was built upon the spirit of tolerance, pluralism and humanity. "Since the 2004 tsunami disaster, Aceh does not only belong to Acehnese, but also [belongs] to Indonesia and the world," said Muliawan Margadana, ISKA Chairman in a written statement received by Tempo on Monday, October 19, 2015.

    Therefore, the recent incident that occurred in Singkil has tainted the spirit of peace and tolerance. ISKA Secretary General Joanes Joko said that the incident must be used as a momentum by the government to address intolerance issues. "Further anticipation is needed to prevent an expanding effect [of the incident]," Joanes said to Tempo.

    Another important point, as conveyed by Muliawan, is that President Jokowi and his cabinet must be able to stabilize the country's political climate and continue to push for development. "Currently, we need a stable political condition to drive further development amidst the pressure caused by global economic condition," Muliawan said.

    In relation to such concern, Muliawan invited several stakeholders to participate in a focus group discussion (FGD) to review President Joko Widodo's government one-year rule. The FGD will be held on Monday, October 19, 2015, focusing on 'Economic Opportunities and Challenges and Nationality Politics'. The discussion will involve several intellectuals and ISKA's Expert council, which comprises of intellectuals, academics, and professionals in various fields. The discussion will be held at the Indonesian Bishops' Conference Office in Cikini, Central Jakarta.

    Muliawan explained that the discussion will be held based on two considerations: President Jokowi’s ineffective cabinet performance and unstable political condition; and the fact that the President and its cabinet, according to ISKA, need to take priority measures to get Indonesia out of the ongoing multi-sector crisis. "Catholic intellectuals wish to provide their contributions through the studies formulated in the discussion," Muliawan said.

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