Indonesian Christian Makes Political History

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A Christian politician has made history in the world's largest Muslim nation by winning an election to one of the nation's highest posts.

Despite opposition from Muslim groups, Basuki Purnama won his bid for vice governor of Jakarta, becoming the first Christian to win such a high post in the capital city.

Purnama's inauguration ceremony was delayed by hard-line Muslims who demonstrated in front of the city council. But eventually he was sworn in to the office.

What is the significance of Purnama's victory? Christian World News' Gary Lane has more, following this report.

As vice governor, Purnama will hold important positions in eight Islamic bodies in the capital. But hardliners believe he is not capable of leading them because he is a Christian.

Purnama said he won't let his faith become an obstacle to governing.

"Religion is our own private matter. It's different in public," he said. "I abide to the four corners of the Pancasila foundation that promotes the acceptance of diversity by respecting the identity of every religion, ethnicity and group. I abide by the Constitution and the unity of Indonesia as a nation."

Purnama, who is also ethnic Chinese, is known for his clean and honest leadership. He promised to bring reform by stressing transparency and servant-leadership among public officials.

Boas Panggabean, a Christian worker, said he is happy over Purnama's victory.

"Purnama is born again," he said. "I believe this is God's destiny for him and he has responded to His calling. I am confident now that my children will have a good future under his leadership. He can even be the next president!"

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