I AM encouraged to learn from Farish Noor's article (NST, Aug 11) that Indonesian moderates are taking a firm stand in defending their state ideology, Pancasila, and their national identity in an effort to defuse the recent rise in Islamic extremism, and to send forth a clear message that the country is firmly committed towards democracy and religious freedom.
Indonesia, being the largest Islamic nation in the world, must be congratulated for being bold in confronting religious extremists who have been attacking other minority groups like Christians and non-Sunni sects with total disregard for the law. The moderates have now stepped forward, making strong public statements to uphold the sanctity of the state ideology and Indonesia's reputation for religious tolerance.
This is an encouraging development because there were fears that the previous government was allowing the religious violence to go unchecked, raising concerns about the sincerity of the leaders to apply the law on those who attack the minority groups and make hate speeches to incite violence in the name of Islam.
I am glad the new leadership is no longer being hypocritical about Islamic extremism and instead, as Farish Noor says, deal with the problem in an open and transparent manner.
These leaders have also assured the country and the world that Indonesia will stick to its secular constitution and laws in the system of government. With such pragmatic policies, that country is set to become the next economic power alongside BRICS, the association of five major emerging national economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.