President Joko Widodo speaking at the Indonesian Muslim Congress in Yogyakarta on Wednesday. (Antara Photo/Noveradika)

Jokowi Stresses Indonesia's Religious Tolerance Credentials at Muslim Congress

FEBRUARY 11, 2015

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo emphasized Indonesia's strong record on religious tolerance on Wednesday as he gave a closing speech at an Indonesian Muslim Congress in Yogyakarta.

"I've met several other heads of states and every time they complimented our country for our tolerance," Joko said, as quoted on the Cabinet Secretariat's website. "We can always cater to both parties when problems occur. There's no overt extremism, that's how other countries see us."

Joko also pointed to inequality and some of the challenges facing young people as Indonesia's rapid modernization presents a new set of opportunities and problems.

"It's not a challenge that I want to sugar coat," he said. "This is something we solve together. It's not only about the economic growth, but also equal distribution."

Indonesia's record for religious tolerance has been subject to both praise and criticism from foreign officials and NGOs.

Hillary Clinton famously said that Indonesia was the answer to anyone seeking an example of whether Islam and democracy were compatible, but several NGOs, from the Setara Institute to Human Rights Watch, have released reports showing Indonesia's religious minorities face routine discrimination and at times violent attacks.