Indonesia Employs Muslims To Represent Local Catholics

Story ByLee Bullen,Sub EditorJoseph Golder,AgencyAsia Wire Report

Picture Credit: AsiaWire

Bungling bureaucrats in Indonesia have apologised for appointing two Muslims one after the other as the representatives of the Catholic community in the country.

Ministry secretary-general Nur Kholis Setiawan said “I apologise for the oversight” while claiming he had been given ‘mistaken advice’ from civil servants.

Local media said that Setiawan was given the role in January after another Muslim head, Muhammadiyah Amin, had been in the position since Eusabius Binsasi, who was Catholic, retired in July 2019.

After the scandal, Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi said they had selected Aloma Sarumaha, a Catholic, as the acting head of the Catholic Community Guidance Directorate General.

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Ministry secretary-general Nur Kholis Setiawan in a statement to media: “The order letter has been signed by the religious affairs minister. Per today, acting head of the Catholic Community Guidance Directorate General is Aloma Sarumaha.”

Minister Fachrul Razi and Deputy Minister Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi had previously claimed that regulations from the National Civil Service Agency (BKN) prevented them from appointing a Catholic in the role, according to reports.

However, officials had reportedly misread a 2019 directive stating that civil servants can only be given positions that are “at the same level or one level above” the role they already held.

It is believed that bungling ministry heads misread the directive as being ‘at the same level or one below’ their current position, according to local media.

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Minister Fachrul Razi, a former military general, explained: “The rule is that [the position] must be held by someone of the same level. It’s like a general’s position can’t be filled by a major.”

After Setiawan’s appointment drew criticism, he admitted that he had not read the directive properly, according to local media.

Experts welcomed the move to appoint catholic saying that it was vital that all religious groups in the country were not only protected but also represented by people from within their own communities in the Religious Affairs Ministry’s community guidance directorates general.

Picture Credit: AsiaWire

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