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ICC Note: While largely perceived by the international community as a tolerant Muslim Democracy, Indonesia nevertheless struggles with issues related to religious freedom. In 2012 as many as 50 churches were forcibly shut down by local governments under pressure from radical Islamists. Recently the appointment of a Christian woman over a largely Muslim community has sparked petitions and demonstrations. While the government has defended the appointment and called protests discriminatory, the anger and controversy caused reveal just how conservative many Indonesian Muslims remain. 
8/28/2013 Indonesia (UCANews) – Hundreds of Muslims in South Jakarta converged on their local administrative office today, demanding the removal of their recently appointed sub-district chief who is a Christian.
They say it does not make sense for a Christian official to be appointed a sub-district chief in a predominantly Muslim area.
Susan Jasmine Zulkifli, 43, was appointed Lenteng Agun sub-district chief by Jakarta Governor, Joko Widodo, in June. The district is home to some 55,000 residents.
“This rally aims to show our concern. We object to Zulkifli, because she was appointed by the Jakarta administration without it considering local cultural issues,” said Naser Nasrullah, who organized Wednesday’s rally.
“[On Monday] we submitted 2,300 signatures and 1,500 copies of our identity cards, but [the Jakarta administration] ignored it,” Nasrullah said.
He said it was not right for Muslims to have Zulkifli as their leader because she would not be able to attend various religious activities held throughout the year at the district’s religious venues, such as mosques, houses of prayer and Islamic teaching groups.
The protesters cited one recent example when Zulkifll failed to attend traditional get-togethers held during Ramadan. Zulkifli later said she had not been invited.
“I would definitely join such events if the residents allowed me, but some residents told me that in Islam a non-Muslim is prohibited from entering a mosque,” the Jakarta Post newspaper quoted her as saying.
Ervan Purwanto, another protester, said it would be better for Zulkifli if she was transferred to a district where there were more Christians.

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