- Oil rig worker says he saw missing plane go down: report
- Pentagon: U.S. F-16 fighter jets to train with Poland near Ukraine
- Jerry Sandusky’s wife: Victims manipulated over money
- Ben Carson: America’s now ‘very much like Nazi Germany’
- Heroin found on N.J. toddler at day care
- Pistorius trial: Police conduct faces scrutiny
- Gaza militants fire large rocket barrage at Israel
- CBO chief: Projected job loss numbers from minimum wage hike are fluid
- Rep. Rangel: ‘No question’ Harlem explosion is result of gas leak, not terrorism
- Dog left in car blasts horn for 15 minutes
Embassy Row: Paid to play?
The Indonesian ambassador is denying claims that he paid demonstrators to show support for Indonesia’s president when he received an award for religious tolerance in New York.
Ambassador Dino Patti Djalal dismissed Indonesia media reports that said Indonesian diplomats and employees of Indonesia's central bank offices in Manhattan got $100 apiece to cheer President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as he entered the Pierre Hotel for an awards banquet hosted by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.
The ambassador accused an organizer of demonstrations against the president of paying protesters.
“Our people reported from trusted sources that there is an Indonesian calling up the diaspora in the U.S. and asking them to join demonstrations against [Mr. Yudhoyono] in New York with $100 as payment,” he said, referring to the Indonesian immigrant community.
The New York-based interfaith group presented Mr. Yudhoyono with its World Statesman Award on May 29 to recognize his efforts to help “Indonesia evolve into a democratic society” and oppose “extremism.”
Critics have complained of widespread persecution of religious minorities in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian island nation.
The Rev. Palti Panjaitan of Indonesia’s Batak Christian Protestant Church told foundation President Rabbi Arthur Schneier that awarding Mr. Yudhoyono “unfortunately sends a wrong message to the world and, more importantly, to the Indonesian people.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Yudhoyono acknowledged the complaints of religious minorities and charges that his government fails to provide adequate protection against religious extremists.
“But our democracy is still a work in progress, and our nationhood is constantly tested,” he said. “Maintaining peace, order and harmony is something that can never be taken for granted.”
He noted that “pockets of intolerance persist” and that “communal conflicts occasionally flare up,” and he pledged to fight religious bigotry.
“As we move forward, we will not tolerate any act of senseless violence committed by any group in the name of religion,” Mr. Yudhoyono said.
The State Department’s latest report on religious freedom criticized Indonesia for failing to protect religious minorities. It criticized government officials and police for allowing “coerced conversion” of dozens of minority Shiite Muslims to the majority Sunni sect.
“The constitution provides for religious freedom, but some laws and regulations restrict it,” the report said.
Of Indonesia’s 237 million citizens, about 207 million are Sunni Muslims, 30 million are Shiite Muslims and 2.4 million are Christian.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
- Embassy Row: India strikes back over diplomat's arrest
- Embassy Row: India 'shocked,' 'appalled' by consular officer's arrest
- Embassy Row: Wife of Christian held in Iran feels abandoned by Obama
- Wife of jailed U.S. Christian in Iran calls for White House help
- Most Americans want no Iranian uranium enrichment: poll
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
An America drowning in red ink is the land of the free no more
- Inside the Beltway: A new interest in Rahm Emanuel for 2016?
- Female TSA officers say pat-down duty leads to workplace discrimination
- HURT: John Kerry The ridiculous face of a ridiculous U.S. diplomacy
- Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says
- Special ops forces wearing thin from high demand
- Last laugh: Marine vet fires off jokes from the grave with own obituary
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Ben Carson: America's now 'very much like Nazi Germany'
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again