President Joko Widodo says Islam in Indonesia is ‘tolerant’ as rights groups warn of rising fundamentalism

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07/28/2019

In his first international television interview since being re-elected in May, Indonesian President Joko Widodo denied being concerned about the rise of fundamentalism in his country, saying that the Islam practiced there is tolerant and progressive. “I still believe that Islam in Indonesia is a tolerant and moderate Islam. Islam in Indonesia is modern, it is forward thinking,” said the leader, who is popularly known as Jokowi — a nickname he said was given to him by a French businessman while he was working as a furniture salesman. In his second term as leader, Joko faces an uphill battle of uniting the world’s most populous Muslim nation, and fighting what he calls “hoaxes and fake news that influenced the mind of the people.” While the President upholds that Indonesia is a tolerant and diverse society, rights groups say there is rising intolerance from hardline religious groups, especially against religious minorities and the LGBT community.

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