Religious Intolerance In Indonesia Getting Worse: Report

January 14, 2009

Author: Adianto P. Simamora

Source: The Star/The Jakarta Post

Religious intolerance is getting worse here, with state agencies, radical groups and community organisations involved in violations of freedom of faith and religion, according to a report released Tuesday.

The recent sealing of the synagogue in Surabaya, East Java, by Muslims in a protest against the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip was the latest case of religious intolerance in Indonesia.

The incident was not included in the 2008 Report on the Condition of Religious and Faith Freedom in Indonesia, which was released by the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.

But Setara Institute chairman Hendardi said the closure of the Jewish place of worship was against the principle of religious tolerance.

“It is clearly part of religious violence and cannot be tolerated,” he told The Jakarta Post after launching the report.

The report found 265 cases of violence against religions from January-December last year, a significant increase from only 135 cases in 2007.

“The increase is spurred by the rising persecution against the Jamaah Ahmadiyah by Islamic organisations to pressure the government to issue a presidential decree banning the minority sect,” the report said.