Indonesia battles religious intolerance
From Mr David J. Critchley.
Sir, Why, asks David Pilling, is Indonesia growing so slowly (“Just two cheers for a sputtering Indonesian dream”, December 15)?
One reason may be Indonesia’s reluctance to tolerate religious minorities. Three Ahmadis were killed and five badly injured in a religiously motivated attack in western Java earlier this year, yet the Indonesian minister of religious affairs justified light sentences on the attackers by saying that minorities could not use religious freedom to completely modify Islamic beliefs. Churches are routinely targeted: in Bogor, a Supreme Court order has demanded that Yasmin church be allowed to open, yet the city administration, supported by hardliners from Hizb ut Tahrir and other parties, refuses to comply. Not even native Indonesian traditions are safe: in Purwakarta in western Java in September hardliners destroyed as un-Islamic three large theatrical statues exemplifying a traditional mix of Hindu and Javan cultures.
Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said: “Our nation’s diversity is a strength.” If Indonesia is to grow, it needs its religious minorities. Read more