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ICC Note:  ICC has seen and reported on this trend in Indonesia, repeatedly calling on the Indonesian government under President Widodo to 1) stand by its constitutional commitments and 2) stand up to the Islamic radicals who intimidate local officials until they get what they want.

By Peter Kenny

08/31/2015 Indonesia (

A World Evangelical Alliance research group says that Indonesia’s president’s efforts to deal with Islamic extremism and promote moderate Islam are flawed due to a lack of strengthening the rule of law.

A new WEA Religious Liberty Commission Research and analysis report notes that when Indonesian President Joko Widodo took office a year ago, there were high hopes his government would check Islamist extremist violence.

“However, President Jokowi, as he is affectionately known, is yet to prove that he has the ability to meet that expectation,” notes the report sent Aug. 29 about the world’s biggest Islamic nation.

“Jokowi does seem to have the will, as he recognizes that religious extremism is a serious issue, unlike his predecessor Susilo Bangbang Yudhoyono, who neither acknowledged nor did anything to control the growth of extremist groups.”

The report by the evangelical association commission also acknowledges that Jokowi’s administration has promoted the idea of a modern and moderate Islam to fight the rise of Islamist extremism.

“However, there appears to be a flaw in the president’s methodology to deal with the threat,” says the commission’s report.

The Indonesian leader “seems to be working towards making the Indonesian society more tolerant, which, of course, is remarkable, but his efforts are not accompanied by strengthening of the rule of law.”

The report finds that since the beginning of his presidency, Jokowi has implemented a cautious bottom-up strategy needed to promote tolerance and moderation, while not directly confronting extremist groups.

“This perhaps explains why he has not been taking enough top-down measures required to improve law and order. And extremist groups seem to have little fear of action by the government yet.”

The WEA Religious Liberty Commission says that one month after Jokowi took office, two extremist groups: the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Forum of Indonesian Islamic community (Formasi) blocked services in four Protestant churches.

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