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Religious Intolerance in Indonesia Getting Worse

ICC Note:

Concern is rising over Indonesia’s increasing intolerance of religions. A recent report found that incidents of violence against religions increased from 135 cases in 2007 to 265 cases in 2008. Out of the 265 incidents, there were 367 recorded violations against freedom of religion and faith.

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1/14/09 Indonesia (TheStar) 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 report found 265 cases of violence against religions from January-December last year, a significant increase from only 135 cases in 2007.

Out of the 265 incidents, the institute recorded 367 violations against freedom of religion and faith.

“Of the 367 violations, the state was involved in 188 cases of violence both by ‘commission and omission’,” Hendardi said.

The report said police were involved in 121 cases of religious intolerance, regents and mayors in 28 cases while 52 others involved courts and regional legislative councils.

“What is worrying is that more individuals and unidentified groups launched sporadic religious attacks, which reached 91 cases last year,” Hendardi said.

The report blamed the radical Islamic Defender Front (FPI) and the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) as the main actors in the religious violence.

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