Where Sunnis and Shiites Differ, Why Can't They Get Along?


Where Sunnis and Shiites Differ, Why Can't They Get Along? - The majority of the world’s billion-odd Muslims are Sunnis. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of all Muslims follow the Shiite branch (pronounced Shi‘ite, Shi‘a or Shia). Beyond that, it gets slightly complicated: Who lives where, and why the differences and conflicts between them? The answer is less daunting than it seems.

Sunnis form the overwhelming majority in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Shiites form the majority only in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan, but they constitute sizable minorities in Afghanistan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen.

At heart, Sunnis and Shiites are like Catholics and Protestants in the commonality of some fundamental beliefs. But their differences, especially in nations where the Sunni-Shiite split is exacerbated by each other's proximity (as in Iraq and Lebanon), run so deep that intolerance and violence shadow the two groups, making coexistence difficult. 

Islam's Origins

In 610 A.D., Muhammad ibn Abdallah was a successful 40-year-old Arab businessman and tradesman. Every year he retired to a cave near Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia, to pray and fast. Beginning that year on his cave retreats, he had overpowering revelation of the word of God, what would later come to be known as the Quran (which means recitation). By 610, Muhammad was preaching the Quran and directing his earliest followers to build a community, or ummah, where the practical and the compassionate (rather than the theological) was to predominate. 

The year 622 marks the founding of Islam as a religion: It was the year of the hijrah, or migration, by Muhammad and his followers. They founded the first truly Islamic ummah in Medina.

By the time of Muhammad's death in 632, Islam had conquered the Arabian peninsula roughly up to what today would be Saudi Arabia's borders with Jordan and Iraq. Within a century, Islam would spread to western India, the Caucasus, Turkey, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. Its furthest advance was to the heart of present-day France, where the armies of Charles Martel stopped the conquerors in 732 in the Battles of Tours and Poitiers. 

The Prophet Muhammad's Succession

At Muhammad's death in 632, Abu Bakr, a close companion of the Prophet, became his successor, or caliph. Most Muslims agreed that the most able and pious of the Prophet's followers should be his caliphs. Their followers would come to be known as the orthodox branch of Islam, or Sunnis. 

A few Muslims disagreed, arguing for a line of succession based on bloodlines. To those dissenters, the succession should have immediately gone to Ali, the fourth caliph -- who took the helm after some of his followers assassinated Caliph Uthman, his predecessor. Followers of Ali would eventually form Shiite Islam. 

What Sunnis and Shiites Believe

The Quran, the Prophet's hadith, or sayings, and the sunna, or customs, are central to the belief system of both Sunnis and Shiites. So are the five pillars of Islam: The recitation of the creed ("There is no God but God, and Muhammad is his Prophet"); the salat, or the recitation of prayers five times a day; zakat, or the obligatory giving of alms to the poor according to one's means; fasting from sunup to sunset during the month of Ramadan; and the hajj, or pilgrimage, to Mecca at least once in a Muslim's lifetime, means permitting. 

Sunnis and Shiites also believe in Islamic law. But its application varies. 

Where Sunnis and Shiites Differ

Sunnis accept that the first four Caliphs, including Ali, were the rightful followers of Muhammad. However--rather like Protestantism in Christianity--they don't grant the kind of divinely inspired status to their clerics that Shiites do with their imams. Shiites believe imams are descendants of the Prophet. 

Islam has no codified laws per se. It has various schools of law. While Sunni doctrine is more rigidly aligned in accordance with those various schools, its hierarchical structure is looser and often falls under state, rather than clerical, control. The opposite is true in Shiitism: The doctrine is somewhat more open to interpretation but the clerical hierarchy is more defined and, as in Iran, the ultimate authority is the imam, not the state. 

Both Sunnis and Shiites break down into various sects that range from puritanical (as with Sunni Wahhabism, prevalent in Saudi Arabia) to somewhat mysterious (as with the Druze of Lebanon, Syria and Israel, who form an offshoot of Shiitism). 

Why Can't They Get Along?

That's a loaded, condescending question best answered by raising a mirror to the more familiar: Why couldn't Catholics and Protestants get along for hundreds of years (and in straggling cases still aren't getting along?). The answer must take account of doctrinal and historical differences, however irrational those differences might seem to the objective, uninvolved eye.

The answer must also take account of the inexplicable: Religious differences are, ultimately, as impossible to settle as metaphysical questions. Peaceful societies depend on what mechanisms or institutions they have developed for channeling those differences into non-violent conflict. The Muslim scholar Reza Aslan, in "No God But God," argues that those very mechanisms are lacking in some Islamic societies such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where the Sunni-Shiite divide is pronounced. But the battle going on within Islam today is defined, in part, by the struggle for those institutions.
This article originally appeared in : The Difference Between Sunnis and Shiites | middleeast.about.com | By Pierre Tristam 

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SBY Menerima Dihujat 10 Tahun Tanpa Penangkapan, Enak Zamanku Toh?


Ketua Harian DPP Partai Demokrat Sjarifuddin Hasan membandingkan kondisi kebebasan berpendapat di Indonesia antara pemerintahan Joko Widodo dan Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

"Kalau dulu, Pak SBY, selama 10 tahun, sudah di-bully, gambarnya dibakar, keluarga dihujat, tetapi bisa menerimanya dengan lapang dada," ujar Sjarifuddin di Kompleks Parlemen Senayan, Jakarta, Rabu (29/10/2014).

Sementara itu, pada awal-awal pemerintahan Jokowi, menurut Sjarifuddin, kebebasan berpendapat tidak seperti zaman SBY. Kasus pemuda berinisial MA (23) yang ditanggap polisi, kata Sjarifuddin, menjadi contohnya.

http://assets.kompas.com/data/photo/2014/08/28/0913373sby-jokowi-3780x390.jpg
Abror/presidenri.go.id Presiden SBY dan presiden terpilih Joko Widodo melakukan pertemuan empat mata membahas proses transisi kepemimpinan, di Laguna Resort and Spa, Nusa Dua, Bali, Rabu (27/8) malam. (foto: abror/presidenri.go.id)

Sjarifuddin atau Syarief menegaskan bahwa apa yang diungkap publik melalui beragam medium, baik unjuk rasa maupun melalui media sosial, adalah bentuk aspirasi. Pemimpin, kata dia, mesti menerima dengan lapang dada. 

"Kalau Pak SBY, ada yang melapor ke polisi, ya enggak ada penangkapan. Enak zamanku toh? Lebih kurang begitulah," ujar Syarief sambil tertawa.

MA, pemuda asal Ciracas, Jakarta Timur, ditangkap Direktorat Tindak Pidana Ekonomi Khusus Bareskrim Polri, Kamis (23/10/2014). MA diduga menyunting gambar wajah Ketua Umum PDI Perjuangan Megawati Soekarnoputri dan Presiden Jokowi ke dalam sebuah gambar porno.

"Dia (MA) dijerat pasal pornografi dilapis pasal pencemaran nama baik," ujar Direktur Tindak Pidana Ekonomi Khusus Bareskrim Polri Brigjen (Pol) Kamil Razak dalam jumpa pers di Mabes Polri, Jakarta, Rabu.

MA dijerat pasal pornografi serta Pasal 310 dan 311 Undang-Undang KUHP tentang Pencemaran Nama Baik. Barang bukti yang digunakan polisi adalah akun Facebook. Adapun MA terancam hukuman 12 tahun penjara.

This article originally appeared in : Syarief: SBY Menerima Dihujat 10 Tahun Tanpa Penangkapan, Enak Zamanku Toh? | Kompas.com | Fabian Januarius Kuwado | Rabu, 29 Oktober 2014 | 16:23 WIB

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Berikut susunan pimpinan Komisi I hingga Komisi XI DPR. Dua di antaranya ditunda


Rapat pemilihan ketua dan wakil ketua komisi di Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR) telah dilaksanakan secara tertutup mulai pukul 10.30 WIB. Usai rapat digelar, susunan pimpinan komisi di DPR akhirnya resmi terbentuk, Rabu 29 Oktober 2014.

Berikut susunan pimpinan Komisi I hingga Komisi XI DPR. Dua di antaranya ditunda:


Komisi I
Ketua: Mahfudz Siddiq (PKS)
Wakil Ketua: Hasril Hamzah Tandjung (Gerindra), Tantowi Yahya (Golkar), Hanafi Rais (PAN)
Komisi II
Ketua: Rambe Kamaruzaman (Golkar)
Wakil Ketua: Ahmad Riza Patria (Gerindra), Wahidin Halim (Demokrat), Mustafa Kamal (PKS)
Komisi III
Ketua: Azis Syamsuddin (Golkar)
Wakil Ketua: Desmon Junaedi Mahesa (Gerindra), Benny K Harman (Demokrat), Nur Fahri Harahap (PAN)
Komisi IV
Ketua: Edhy Prabowo (Gerindra)
Wakil Ketua: Titiek Soeharto (Golkar), Herman Khaeron (Demokrat), Viva Yoga Mauladi (PAN)
Komisi V: Ditunda

Komisi VI
Ketua: Achmad Hafisz Tohir (PAN)
Wakil Ketua: Dodi Reza Alex Noerdin (Golkar), Heri Gunawan (Gerindra), Azam Azman Natawijana (Demokrat)
Komisi VII
Ketua: Kardaya Warnika (Gerindra)
Wakil Ketua: Satya W Yudha (Golkar), Mulyadi (Demokrat), Tamsil Linrung (PKS)
Komisi VIII
Ketua: Saleh Partaonan Daulay (PAN)
Wakil Ketua: Deding Ishak (Golkar), Sodik Nudjahid (Gerindra), Ledia H Amaliah (PKS)
Komisi IX
Ketua: Dede Yusuf Macan Effendi (Demokrat)
Wakil Ketua: Syamsul Bachri (Golkar), Pius Lustrilanang (Gerindra), Asman Abnur (PAN)
Komisi X
Ketua: Teuku Riefky Harsya (Demokrat)
Wakil Ketua : Ridwan Hisyam (Golkar), Nuroji (Gerindta), Sohibul Iman (PKS)
Komisi XI: Ditunda (Kamis 30 Oktober 2014 pukul 14.00 WIB)

Wakil Ketua DPR Taufik Kurniawan mengatakan, dalam rapat internal tadi masih ada beberapa fraksi yang belum siap dan ada juga yang ingin mengubah daftar anggota.

"Ini lebih ke masalah teknis, tidak ada yang politis," katanya. (art)

This article originally appeared in : KMP Sapu Bersih! Ini Susunan Pimpinan Komisi DPR Periode 2014-2019 | VIVAnews | Rabu, 29 Oktober 2014

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Inilah Pertanyaan Masyarakat Yang Perlu Jawaban dan Klarifikasi dari Jokowi


Ketua Fraksi Partai Demokrat Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono atau Ibas mengatakan muncul keresahan di masyarakat ihwal penyusunan kabinet Joko Widodo dan Jusuf Kalla. Menurut dia, ada banyak pertanyaan yang muncul di publik terkait hal ini. "Pertanyaan masyarakat perlu jawaban dan klarifikasi dari Jokowi," kata Ibas, Ahad, 25 Oktober 2014.

Ibas mengatakan, setidaknya ada tujuh pertanyaan masyarakat yang muncul di media sosial.

Sekjen Partai Demokrat Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono (Ibas). TEMPO/Wisnu Agung Prasetyo

Pertama, siapa yang mengambil keputusan dalam penetapan menteri? Ibas mempertanyakan hari-hari menjelang pengumuman kabinet yang justru terpusat di kediaman Ketua Umum PDI Perjuangan Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Ibas mengatakan jika yang menyusun adalah Megawati, maka hal ini bertentangan dengan UUD 1945. Ibas meminta Jokowi berterus terang dan jangan membohongi masyarakat. Jika benar ada intervensi Megawati, Ibas mengatakan Jokowi bisa dinyatakan melanggar konstitusi. 

Pertanyaan kedua adalah, kata Ibas, apakah Jokowi sudah memikirkan pemisahan dan penggabungan kabinet terhadap pekerjaan kementerian. Dia khawatir penggabungan dan pemisahan ini akan menguras tenaga, energi, dan biaya untuk penyesuaian struktur baru ini. 

Pertanyaan ketiga soal restrukturisasi kementerian yang berimplikasi pada Anggaran Perubahan 2014 dan Anggaran Negara 2015. Ibas mempertanyakan apakah perubahan struktur yang berimbas pada anggaran ini sudah dikonsultasikan kepada Dewan. Menurut Ibas, penggunaan anggaran negara yang ceroboh bisa menyebabkan tindak pidana korupsi.

Pertanyaan keempat adalah adanya pemisahan Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan serta penggabungan Kementerian Ristek menjadi Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi dan Ristek. Putra kedua SBY ini mengingatkan pengaturan anggaran pendidikan yang mesti mematuhi UUD 1945. Dia juga mempertanyakan sinkronisasi anggaran pendidikan yang dikelola Kementerian Agama. "Dapatkah direalisasikan dalam APBN Perubahan 2014 dan APBN 2015?" kata Ibas. 

Pertanyaan kelima soal alasan penggabungan Kementerian Kehutanan dan Lingkungan Hidup. Dia mengingatkan saat ini tantangan perubahan iklim menjadi prioritas dan agenda global. Penggabungan ini, kata dia, malah memperkecil peran Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup. Akibatnya, kata Ibas, visi Jokowi dalam lingkungan hidup dan mengatasi perubahan iklim serta pemanasan global patut dipertanyakan. 

Pertanyaan keenam, terkait wacana penempatan Kementerian Energi dan Sumber Daya Mineral serta Perhubungan di bawah koordinasi Kementerian Koordinasi Bidang Maritim. Ibas ingin mendengar jawaban Jokowi soal logika keputusan ini. 

Pertanyaan ketujuh Ibas adalah informasi lembaga Kepresidenan yang akan diisi tiga pejabat utama, yaitu Kepala Staf Presiden, Menteri Sekretaris Negara, dan Sekretaris Kabinet. Menurut Ibas, pembagian ini berpotensi menimbulkan konflik dan kerancuan pembagian tugas. "Benarkah struktur ini hanya untuk menempatkan seseorang yang tidak punya tempat?" kata Ibas. 

This article originally appeared in : Tujuh Pertanyaan Ibas kepada Jokowi | WAYAN AGUS PURNOMO | Tempo.co | Senin, 27 Oktober 2014 | 07:25 WIB

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Jokowi has raised the hopes of women in Papua


Yohana is first female Papuan minister - Yohana Susana Yembise might have had a bitter pill to swallow when she was defeated as a candidate to become the 2014-2019 Biak Numfor regent in Papua, but she was headed for a better future after being appointed as the minister for women’s empowerment and child protection in the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. She replaced Linda Amalia Sari.

Yohana, fondly called Yo, ran to become Biak Numfor regent with her running mate Friets G. Sanadi, but lost to the pair of Yesaya Sombuk and Thomas AE Ondi, who were sworn in on March 23.

Yo, who was installed as Papua’s first female professor in November 2012, had no other wish than to write books. 


“I’ve achieved the highest title in the academic field and it’s time for me to write books,” she told The Jakarta Post two weeks before her appointment as minister. 

She said she saw the regency election as a hands-on experience and a political learning process. She even conducted her own survey to find out why she lost the election. 

“I approached the residents one by one and they said they liked me but they could not elect me because earlier they had made commitments to another candidate who had provided them cash aid to build a house of worship and for other needs. So I was failed by money,” she said.

Yo said she remained positive by working on a book about gender and political issues in Papua. 

Born in Manokwari, West Papua, on Oct. 1, 1958, Yo has lectured at the school of pedagogy and teacher training at Cenderawasih University since 1987. 

After earning an applied linguistics diploma from the Regional Language Center (RELC), SEAMEO Singapore in 1992, she completed a Master’s degree program at the education department of Simon Fraser University in Canada in 1994. 

She earned her doctorate in 2007 from the University of Newcastle in Australia. In 2011, she was a member of the joint selection team of the Australian Development Scholarship (now Australia Awards) in Indonesia.

The mother of three was enthusiastic in encouraging Papuan women to pursue higher education overseas. 

“My team from Cenderawasih University is currently mapping out the number of highly educated women in Papua and designing positions for them. The program enables me to prepare intellectual women in Papua to become professors in the future,” she said.

Pastor Neles Tebay, head of the Fajar Timur Theological Academy in Abepura, Jayapura, believed that Yohana’s selection as a minister could inspire other women in Papua.

“Jokowi has raised the hopes of women in Papua that they could become ministers in the country,” he said.

Neles said he considered that naming a woman from Papua as minister was part of Jokowi’s “mental revolution” because people are accustomed to imagining men when they speak about ministers from Papua.

Back at home, Yo has secured a special place in the hearts of her three children. “One of mum’s gifts is cooking. For me, there is no other food that is as delicious as mum’s,” Marcia, 27, Yohana’s eldest daughter, wrote in an e-mail to the Post.

Marcia, a Fullbright scholar, has finished her graduate study at Loyola University in Chicago, the US. The second daughter, Dina Maria, 18, is currently studying climatology in London, the UK. Yo’s youngest is Bernie, 16, a senior high school student in Timika.

This article originally appeared in : Yohana is first female Papuan minister | Nethy Dharma Somba | The Jakarta Post, Jayapura | Headlines | Tue, October 28 2014, 9:56 AM

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Kim Kardashian reveals daughter North painted a purse for her birthday gift (with a little help from Kanye)


Kim Kardashian reveals daughter North painted a purse for her birthday gift (with a little help from Kanye) - There's no question that Kim Kardashian was lavished in expensive gifts for her 34th birthday.

But the reality queen has revealed that the one she cherishes the most was homemade - by her daughter North.

The 16-month-old decorated a purse of her mother, with the help of sometime fashion designer daddy Kanye West. 

Mommy and me! Kim Kardashian pictured with her 16-month-old North in New York in August

The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star revealed to E! News that North and Kanye gifted her with the painted purse.

'He got me this purse and it was really pretty painted and then my computer was open next to the gift and I was trying to figure out why it was there,' she said. 

'And I press play and it was a video of her [North] actually painting it.

'She spent hours getting paint all over herself and painting this purse and he captured it all,’ Kim continued, adding that it ‘was so sweet.'

Precious: Kim Kardashian revealed to E! News at her birthday bash in Las Vegas on Friday that daughter North and husband Kanye West gifted her with a purse that North painted herself

Birthday girl Kim Kardashian recently revealed the scale of her super cute daughter's wardrobe. But it looks like North has got a long way to go until she catches up with her yummy mummy!

Kim's shoe collection is second to none. It includes names like Hermes, Balmain, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Saint Laurent, Gianvito Rossi... the list goes on. But these Givenchy heels have got to be up there with her favourites. She's got them in both black and white, and even wore the latter for her wedding earlier this year.

Thanks to that VERY revealing dress, you might not have paid much attention to her shoes, but listen up. We love the distinctive dainty gold cigarette heel, which just about justifies spending £825!

If you fancy adding this fashionable footwear to your own wardrobe then click the link (right) to buy them from Net-a-Porter now. Or take a walk down the virtual high street and bag yourself a pair of black heels that will give you Kim's look but that won't break the bank.

The mother-of-one kept with tradition when she celebrated her birthday at The Venetian’s TAO nightclub in Vegas on Friday.

‘I've been coming here for so many years and it's so much fun,’ she said.

‘And it's a time where I just get to hang out with all my friends and family and it's just a tradition at this point.

‘My husband's here, Khloe's here, my mom's here, all my friends, Jonathon [Cheban], Simon [Huck].’ 

Kim Kardashian reveals her sweet birthday gift from North


We'll be back! The mother-of-one kept with tradition when she celebrated her birthday at The Venetian's TAO nightclub

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian arrive at her 34th birthday


This article originally appeared in : 'It was so sweet': Kim Kardashian reveals daughter North painted a purse for her birthday gift (with a little help from Kanye) | dailymail.co.uk | By HELEN ZHAO FOR MAILONLINE | PUBLISHED: 03:52 GMT, 28 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:52 GMT, 28 October 2014

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Indonesian president gets rock star welcome at inauguration


Indonesian president gets rock star welcome at inauguration - Joko Widodo, Indonesia's first president from outside the political and military elite, got a rock-star welcome from a cheering crowd at a celebration marking his inauguration Monday but takes power facing challenges to enact an ambitious reform agenda.

As night fell, Widodo, sworn in as leader of the world's third-biggest democracy earlier in the day, ran on stage in front of about 50,000 supporters at a park in central Jakarta, grinning broadly and raising his hands in the air.  

Joko Widodo is sworn-in as Indonesian president during the inaugural ceremony at the House of Representative in Jakarta, on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)                         
"We must realise that Indonesia is a great nation but it has to be run well, it has to be run for the prosperity of the people," said the leader, known by his nickname Jokowi and famed for his man of the people image.

"I invite everyone in society to unite and work together to achieve what we have dreamt of -- creating a strong, prosperous and dignified Indonesia."

The inauguration capped a remarkable rise from an upbringing in a riverside slum for the 53-year-old former furniture exporter, who won the presidency in July after a close race against controversial ex-general Prabowo Subianto. 

The former Jakarta governor is the country's first leader since the end of Suharto's three decades of dictatorship in 1998 to have no major links to that era.
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Indonesian President Joko Widodo (centre) rides on a horse-drawn carriage as they greet the crowd as their motorcade makes its way towards the presidential palace in Jakarta, on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Romeo Gacad)

Hopes are high for a new style of leadership in Indonesia, but there are also fears an opposition-dominated parliament could make it hard for Widodo to enact reforms to revive the G20 economy and help society's poorest.

Monday was marked by festivities, with Widodo riding through Jakarta in a horse-drawn carriage after being sworn in at a ceremony attended by dignitaries including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In his inauguration speech, he appealed for unity after the country's most bitterly fought election and sought to reach out to his foes.

He referred to Prabowo as "my best friend" and the ex-general responded by standing up and giving a salute, the latest sign of a thaw between the pair that could help smooth the path of Widodo's reforms.

- Short-lived euphoria -


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US Secretary of State John Kerry (right) attends the inaugural ceremony of new Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta, on October 20, 2014 (AFP Photo/Bay Ismoyo)
After Widodo's appearance on stage in Jakarta, he headed to the presidential palace to meet several world leaders, while the huge crowd at the park watched a rock concert. 

Despite an initial plan for Widodo to join bands on stage, he had not returned by late Monday and appeared to have abandoned the plan after a gruelling day.

About 24,000 police and troops were deployed to secure the day's events but there was no sign of trouble and the atmosphere was festive. 

The euphoria of the inauguration is likely to be short-lived, however, as Widodo faces up to the task of leading the world's fourth most populous country, with 250 million people spread over more than 17,000 islands, at a critical moment.

The growth rate in Southeast Asia's top economy is at a five-year low, corruption remains rampant and fears are mounting that support for the Islamic State group could spawn a new generation of radicals in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Kerry's attendance was in part aimed at seeking support from Indonesia and other Southeast Asian nations in the fight against the extremists, who have taken over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. 

Widodo's first test will be to reduce the huge fuel subsidies that eat up about a fifth of the nation's budget, a move which economists say is urgently needed but which risks sparking street protests. 

Prospects for his ambitious reforms dimmed in recent weeks after Prabowo's supporters in parliament used their majority to abolish the direct election of local leaders, a move opposed by Widodo, and to win key posts in the legislature. 

Prabowo's appearance at the inauguration, and an unexpected meeting with Widodo Friday during which he pledged support, have raised hopes that tensions are easing. But observers say the ex-general may still oppose the new leader's policies.

Widodo is expected to announce his new cabinet later in the week.

This article originally appeared in : Indonesian president gets rock star welcome at inauguration | AFP | By Sam Reeves October 20, 2014 12:58 PM

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