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Indonesia’s government accused of contributing to religious intolerance


Last year militant Islamists groups attacked members of the Ahmadiyah religious community and their mosques in 14 locations, he said, and on August 26 an attack on a Shia community in East Java left 2 Shiites dead and over a dozen homes burnt.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch |
Source/Credit: Radio Australia
By ABC | September 5, 2012

There is growing concern about levels of intolerance towards religious minorities in Indonesia.

Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch accused Indonesian authorities of failing to address increasing mob violence by militant Islamist groups in Java and Sumatra.

Attacks against the Ahmadiyah, Christians and Shia Muslims have been on the rise across the country.

“Indonesia needs to recognize that oppressive laws and policies against religious minorities fuel violence and discrimination,” John Sifton, the watchdog’s Asia advocacy director, said.

Last year militant Islamists groups attacked members of the Ahmadiyah religious community and their mosques in 14 locations, he said, and on August 26 an attack on a Shia community in East Java left 2 Shiites dead and over a dozen homes burnt.

One of Indonesia’s leading human rights lawyers, Prof. Adnan Buyung Nasution, told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia program that the government needs to begin by revoking the 1965 blasphemy law that allows the government to prosecute members of religious minorities, including atheists, and often without due justice.

“The government dictates that everybody by law has to follow the interpretation of the mainstream. On the one hand in the constitution you guarantee the human rights, including the right of religion, but on the other hand, you have to follow one way of thinking, one interpretation of the meaning of Islam,” he argued.

He argued that the Indonesian government’s 2008 anti-Ahmadi decree and subsequent calls to ban the religious minority altogether had not helped the situation.

“This is repetition and repetition of the same problem. Something must be done to have a strategy. A long, well-planned strategy to overcome this problem,” Prof Nasution said.

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