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Editorial (815)



Iran's anti-government rally still continues. The massive demonstrations that have  taken  place first time since 2009,  sparked worldwide attention including US Donald Trump who made his comments.


What is the real cause of the anti-government movement in the Shi'ite country? Western news agencies, such as AFP, have said that  dissatisfaction with the state of the economy, as the main cause. Meanwhile, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, blamed Iran's enemies as the mastermind behind the rally. This is the first time Khamenei commented on the massive anti-government rally taking place in his country.


 In response to Iran's supreme leader's comments, US President Donald Trump said the demonstrations showed that the Iranian people wanted change, and the oppressive regime would not last forever. Through his twitter account, Trump said it was time for a change in Iran.


Whether Trump's statement has justified Ali Khamanei's allegations of  Iran's enemies' interference in the protest movement,  must yet   be explored further.


The protests in Iran have caused some deaths   and dozens more injured. The government needs to find the cause of the movement. As the Iranian President said, the protests should not have caused any  victims.


Is it true what Donald Trump said, that the rally in Iran will be a moment of change? Only the government and the people of Iran will decide. If the Iranian government can dampen the demonstration in a persuasive way, then it is very likely that the protests will soon be ended.

As is known, Iran has received international sanctions led by the United States, for its nuclear testing activities. In line with that, Iran has also devoted much of its resources to finance its participation in defending the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Iran's support for  the Syrian government is a problem for the United States and Saudi Arabia. In the geopolitical perspective, the fall of the government in present-day Iran is certainly decisive for the development  of the Middle East conflict. Especially for the end of the Syrian government that has the same ideology with Iran.






In the next few months, 171 regions in Indonesia will hold the Direct Election of Regional Head and Deputy Regional Head (Pilkada) simultaneously. Organizers' readiness becomes an important key, so that untoward incidents such as in the Elections of previous years do not happen again.




The elections of 2018 are the third simultaneous Direct Elections of Regional Head and Deputy Regional Head held in Indonesia. The first was in 2015 and the second in 2017. The elections  now are scheduled for June 2018, followed by 17 provinces, 115 districts and 39 cities.




Based on the results of the General Election Commission (KPU) assessment, the List of Potential Voters in 2018 elections will reach  160 million people. This number, according to the General Elections Commission (KPU), causes the potential for conflict to be very large. In addition, the budget for  the 2018 elections also reached the highest record in the history of Regional  Elections in Indonesia, which is 20 trillion Rupiahs.


The Indonesian people hope, simultaneous Regional direct elections 2018 can run successfully. All parties including the organizers, political parties that carry the candidates of regional heads, participants or the candidates themselves, as well as voters, are expected to  promote the unity of the nation firstly.




Reflecting on previous experiences, the contestation of candidates and political parties is considered to  potentially cause conflicts. For example, if there are candidates who  put forward tribal, religious, or group issues, rather than programs,  to attract voters. Hopefully things like these do not happen again. Because after repeatedly conducting elections,  including general elections, the Indonesian people should be aware that unity is  the most important compared to mere  ambitions to become  leaders.



The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia -NKRI based on Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, and Unity in Diversity (Bhinneka Tunggal Ika) is a country which recognizes the plurality of its citizens with different tribes, religions, races, or groups. Specifically about religion, Indonesia officially recognizes the existence of six religions, namely Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The 1945 Constitution article 29 explicitly states that Indonesia is a country based on the One Supreme God. The state also guarantees the independence of every citizen to embrace his or her own religion and worship according to his or her religion and belief.

Maintaining harmony of religious communities within the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is absolutely necessary. All religion followers must avoid insulting, harassing, disfiguring, and demeaning any different religions. There are articles about blasphemy in the Indonesian Criminal Law - KUHP to maintain the harmony of religious life and mutual respect for each other. Take for example, the followers of Islam as the largest religion in Indonesia must respect other minority religions and vice versa.

On Monday, October 23, 2017, President Joko Widodo appointed Prof. Din Syamsuddin as the president's special envoy for dialogue and inter-faith cooperation and civilization. The task is aimed at pursuing dialogue and cooperation among civilizations by promoting the culture and life of Indonesian society. Another task is by promoting harmony among religious followers in accordance with Pancasila both in the country and abroad. In regard to this, the religious harmony can be built in Indonesia. In addition, it can also help solve the world’s problems that have something to do with religion, such as Rohingya Muslims, Palestine, and Afghanistan.


In today's global uncertain situation, tensions and even conflicts between religions and civilizations occur everywhere. Indonesia is often asked, even required to be involved. This is in accordance with the message of the Preamble of the 1945 Constitution which states that Indonesia must participate in maintaining the world order, and realizing lasting peace. It is believed that inter-religious harmony among groups in Indonesia can be a good example that needs to be disseminated to the world.

The President advised Prof. Din Syamsuddin as the special envoy of the president for dialogue and interfaith cooperation and civilization to start implementing the tasks across Indonesia. Shortly after the inauguration, Prof. Din Syamsuddin immediately established a dialogue with Christian leaders in the office of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia and met with Chairman of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference.

The role of the president's special envoy for dialogue and cooperation between religions and civilizations is certainly very strategic to pursue the harmony of all religion followers or Ummah. Hopefully, the harmony of religious people in Indonesia based on Pancasila is growing well and peacefully. Communication among religious people can be more intense so that a close relationship is well-established not only in the country, but also abroad.




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