Monday, August 19, 2013

Indonesia's President Expresses Concern Over Religious Intolerance in His Country

This report drives home the warnings Fr Daniel Byantoro of the Indonesian Orthodox Christian Mission has been sounding for many years. Wherever Islam grows to 10% or more of the population, persecution of non-Muslims is the result. Indonesia is a Muslim majority nation, and like all Muslim nations, over the past decade has seen a sharp increase in persecution of Christians (and other minorities). For more info, see the Friends of Indonesia website here.

Indonesia's President Expresses Concern Over Religious Intolerance in His Country

ICC Note: The president of the world's most populous Muslim country has recently expressed concern over the growing religious intolerance that has spread across Indonesia. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, violent incidents of persecution against Indonesia's religious minorities, including Christians, has been on the rise since 2012. Indonesia's president has said he was concerned and will take steps to insure the religious freedom of all people living in Indonesia. 

8/19/2013 Indonesia — ICC (The Irrawaddy) - Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he was concerned by growing religious intolerance in the country with world’s largest Muslim population, which many analysts say his administration has failed to contain.

Indonesia has recently seen a series of increasingly violent attacks on religious minorities like Christians, Shia Muslims and members of Ahmadiyah, a small Islamic sect which is considered heretical by mainstream Muslims.

“I am very concerned about the continuing incidents of intolerance and communal conflict we see, which are often violent,” Yudhoyono said in an annual address to parliament.

“We should always be able to prevent these if we prioritize dialogue and if the country’s leaders, in government and religious institutions, take collective responsibility.”

Yudhoyono, in office since 2004 and whose current term ends next year, has been criticized for failing to defend the rights of religious minorities.

“President Yudhoyono seems to say all the right words. But he does not talk about legal discrimination that his administration had created over the last nine years,” Andreas Harsono, Indonesia director for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters in an e-mail.

Human Rights Watch released a damning report this year that listed more than 260 violent incidents against religious minorities in 2012. It accused some cabinet members of fanning the violence.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia’s population considers itself Muslim but the constitution guarantees freedom of worship in a country that was once home to powerful Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms.

Most Indonesians follow a moderate form of Islam but militants linked to al Qaeda have carried out several major attacks on foreign targets since 2002.