Posted by: mel | June 9, 2009

Improved economic conditions will weaken fundamentalism: Prabowo

Jakarta Post | Dicky Christanto and Blontank Poer , Jakarta, Surakarta   |  Tue, 9 June 2009 |  Presidential Election

Continuous and extensive economic growth, which increases the welfare of Indonesian people, will weaken Islamic fundamentalism vice presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto said Monday.

“Fundamentalist activities have increased because the government has failed to provide welfare to Indonesians,” he told representatives of a Chinese-Indonesian Protestant church community in a closed meeting.

“It is latent poverty that makes people stop believing in the country’s Pancasila ideology.”

Recently, organizations such as Hizbut Tahrir, the Indonesian Mujahidin Council and several fundamentalist groups, have publicly announced the need to replace Pancasila with Islamic sharia law.

These organizations consider Pancasila and the government to have failed in delivering prosperity to Indonesians, who are predominantly Muslim.

Prabowo said it was clear the next administration would be tasked to seek ways to immediately improve the nation’s economic conditions to curb the rise of religious fundamentalism.

“Such breakthroughs will arise by reviewing all policies that may contain and result in potential injustices,” he said.

“Of course it will take a lot of courage to review policies and deal with these kinds of religious fundamentalists.”

Attended by dozens of church leaders and members, the two-hour closed door meeting was dominated by questions posed to vice presidential candidates about their perspectives on Indonesian pluralism.

Meanwhile in Surakarta, Central Java, incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono attended a conference of village heads, Parade Nusantara, and used the opportunity to convey the political agenda of his presidential campaign.

“Are you ready to continue our duties for the glory of our nation and country and for the welfare of the people?” Susilo asked the village heads.

“Lanjutkan,” the village heads answered in unison.

Lanjutkan (continue) is Yudhoyono’s campaign motto for his second term in office as President.

Earlier, Parade Nusantara chairman, Sudir Santoso spoke highly of Yudhoyono’s achievements.

“It was Pak SBY who started the People’s Microcredit (KUR) and the Community Empowerment National Program Mandiri (PNPM),” he said.

“There has also been a significant increase in our budget, now each village receives hundreds of millions of rupiah, from a mere Rp 5 million *US$798* that we previously received.”

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