Indonesia appoints Christian as new National Police Chief

10 March 2021

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Indonesia has appointed a Christian as the new National Police Chief, the first time that a member of a religious minority has held the post in nearly 50 years.

Commissioner General Listyo Sigit Prabowo was sworn in on 27 January, having been unanimously approved by the legal and political affairs commission of the Indonesian House of Representatives.

Listyo Sigit Prabowo, the new Chief of the Indonesian National Police, was previously Head of the Criminal Investigation Agency

Listyo told the commission that he wanted to take a “more humane approach” to law enforcement.

Church leaders welcomed the news, praising the “moderate” policies of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

One Christian leader highlighted to Barnabas Fund that since coming to power the president, also known as Jokowi, has done “many good things”, including dissolving two hard-line Islamic organisations – Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). “President Jokowi's courage to dissolve these organisations is astonishing,” he added.

In November 2020, four Christians were killed, one beheaded, in a brutal attack by Islamist militants on a church and homes in a remote Christian community and Salvation Army post on the island of Sulawesi. The Republic of Indonesia has no official religion, but is the world’s largest Muslim-majority state. The country has seen a rise in hard-line Islamic ideology in recent years. A generation ago, Muslims and Christians lived peaceably as equals in accordance with the state-promoted philosophy of Pancasila.

From Barnabas Fund contacts and other sources

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