APPEAL OF CONSCIENCE
Indonesia Hypes Abrahamic Unity
But Refuses To Recognize Judaism
HE president of Indonesia, the
world’s third largest democracy, said he’s setting a good
example for the Muslim world. President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono (popularly known as SBY) assured a New York
audience of 500 Christians and Jews that his country is proving
that "democracy, Islam and modernity can go together in positive
Rabbi Arthur Schneier was
pleased to hear such praiseworthy remarks. For on this 30th
day in May the rabbi, assisted by Henry Kissinger who
celebrated his 90th birthday three days before,
presented the World Statesman Award to SBY at the Appeal of
Conscience dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York.
"We are celebrating understanding and
tolerance," declared Jan Eliasson, deputy secretary
general of the United Nations.
Since founding the interfaith
foundation in 1965, Rabbi Schneier has crisscrossed the globe to
stimulate world leaders to promote inter-religious dialogue and
The Indonesian president pledged to
preserve a nation where "all God’s children—Muslims, Christians,
Hindus, Buddhists and Confucians and other faiths—live as one in
freedom and brotherhood."
Those five religions are the only ones
officially recognized by the state. Indonesia, with the world’s
largest Muslim population, apparently does not recognize the Jew
as one of God’s children. During the Holocaust thousands of Jews
found safety in Indonesia; today only 20 are left in Jakarta and
Surabaya. That truly is a minority.
But the Jewish presence is still felt.
Shaar Hashamayim in North Sulawesi is the last synagogue still
open, though little used. A 62-foot tall menorah, erected by the
local government, remains on a hill overlooking Manado with its
heavy Christian presence.
SBY proudly announced that "we are
actively promoting Abrahamic unity so that all the offspring of
Abraham can finally live together in total peace in the 21st
One may well ask: How can you strive
for Abrahamic unity if you don’t recognize the Jew, the very
first offspring of Abraham, long before Christianity and Islam
Also at the dinner Louis R.
Chenevert, chairman and CEO of United Technologies Corp.,
received the Appeal of Conscience Award for his multiple