Political observers termed the move evidence of religious pluralism
The daughter of Indonesia’s founding president Sukarno embraced Hinduism after giving up Islam on Tuesday.
Human rights activists and political observers termed the move evidence of religious pluralism in the world’s most populous Muslim country.
Some went a step further to say that Sukmawati Sukarnoputri’s religious conversion – which would be considered blasphemous in other Muslim nations, including Malaysia – could be interpreted as her opposition to the growth of political Islam in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
Officials in the nation of 270 million people, where 86% of residents are Muslim, have in the last decade sought a larger role for Islam in society and politics, while Indonesia continues to grapple with radicalization and militancy.
Her niece, Puan Maharani, is among a group of political scions likely to vie for the top role in the 2024 presidential election. She is the daughter of Sukmawati’s eldest sister, Megawati, who was Indonesia’s first woman president from 2001-2004 and still leads the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the political vehicle of President Joko Widodo.
The Sukarno name still commands respect as he was the face of a secular nationalist movement that won Indonesia independence from the Dutch colonial rule.