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Indonesia Less Tolerant of Minorities, Say Faith Leaders

ICC Note:

Catholic and Muslim leaders are expressing concerns over Indonesia’s increasing intolerance of religious minorities in the country. Police reportedly do little to prevent or solve cases of religious persecution, often allowing extremists to continue their campaigns without consequence.

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6/12/08 Indonesia (ChristianPost) Indonesia is becoming more intolerant of religious minority, declared both a Catholic priest and a moderate Muslim leader on Wednesday.

In general, the overwhelmingly Muslim country of Indonesia is considered as tolerant of Christians and other religious minorities. But reports show an increase in church closures throughout the archipelago. More than 100 churches have been closed in Indonesia by attacks from radical Muslim groups or by local governments, according to Compass Direct News.

Also in recent months, there have been attacks on mosques and buildings belonging to the Muslim sect Ahmadiyya, which many Muslims deem “heretical,” as reported by Reuters.

“In general, religious freedom is still a fact, but it is also a fact that our state is a weak state and doesn’t dare to enforce the law if state people think that it is against religious feelings of the majority,” he noted.

Specifically, Magnis said the government failed to take strong action against militants accused for a series of bomb attacks, including blasts at churches in 2000 that killed 19 people. But officials were fast to act when the militant group Jemaah Islamiah attacked nightclubs in Bali in 2002.

“To my great astonishment within six weeks (of the Bali bomb) they caught the terrorists,” Magnis said.

“But of the 30 bombs that exploded on Christmas night in the year 2000 they caught nobody except a few people when the bomb exploded before it was brought there,” he added.

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