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Gibran says Solo is one of Indonesia's most tolerant cities

Jakarta Globe - December 8, 2023

Wijayanti Putri, Solo – Mayor Gibran Rakabuming Raka said on Friday that Solo, under his leadership, has evolved into one of Indonesia's most tolerant cities, vowing to further augment its standing.

Solo is one of the 10 Indonesian cities with the highest perceived tolerance levels according to the human rights organization Setara Institute.

Gibran claimed that since he assumed the mayoral position, Solo has advanced in rank, shifting from ninth to fourth.

"Since my tenure as mayor of Solo, we have made remarkable strides in our ranking," Gibran said during an interview at Solo City Hall.

"Previously, there were reservations about erecting Christmas trees, for instance. But now, we permit Christmas decorations at city hall. Additionally, if Hindu followers intend to conduct the ogoh-ogoh festival on Jalan Sudirman, we will warmly welcome their initiative," he added.

The eldest son of President Joko Widodo also expressed his commitment to cultivating an inclusive environment for all faiths and religions, because religious freedom is constitutionally granted and integral to the city's ethos.

"For Solo, religious freedom stands as a vital indicator of peace and security. Here in Solo, adherents of any faith can host major events," Gibran said.

The president's hometown was once known as a breeding ground for militant groups with the presence of radical clerics who run boarding schools in Greater Solo.

It also witnessed some of the worst ethnic and sectarian clashes decades ago.

However, Gibran said the city has transformed into one that highly esteems religious tolerance and democratic ideals.

"If there are attempts to hinder the construction or usage of worship buildings or seal them, I will become the first person to unseal such sites. Solo recognizes pluralism and we are friendly to all religions," the mayor said.

Gibran is currently contesting the election as a running mate for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

His contributions to upholding religious tolerance in Solo were recently recognized by the Association of Indonesian Pastors (API).

"Solo has graciously facilitated and provided spaces for numerous Christian religious activities, affording us the comfort to observe our rituals," said Pastor Reynald Gouw from the API branch in Central Java.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/gibran-says-solo-is-one-of-indonesias-most-tolerant-citie