Indonesian president urges tolerance in annual speech

Indonesia’s president urged his country to embrace its founding spirit of tolerance in an annual national address just days after choosing a divisive cleric as his running mate in elections next year.

Joko “Jokowi” Widodo says independence fighters were able to throw off Dutch colonial rule by not being divided by their differences.

He says, “It depends on the people itself whether the nation wants to unite.”

Indonesia’s image as a moderate Muslim nation has been undermined by flaring intolerance in the past several years, from the imprisonment of Jakarta’s Christian governor for blasphemy to the canings of gay men in Aceh.

Jokowi last week chose a conservative cleric who rails against secularism, homosexuality and minority religions as his running mate in the presidential election set for April.


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