When religious intolerance rules
But, as Zannuba suggests, what if the administration feels it is actually reflecting the wishes of the ‘silent majority’, the so-called moderates, whose reticence is really indifference towards other people’s rights and faith? The evidence is there in all the polls. Take the most recent, a survey by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which showed 68.2 per cent of respondents did not want followers of other faiths to build places of worship in their neighbourhoods.
Then look no further than the church in Bogor which the mayor and the local police chief have refused to reopen, despite an order by the Supreme Court. Such an act of defiance is clearly not taking place in a public vacuum. The CSIS survey also found that while 83.4 per cent of respondents claimed they would accept neighbours from a different ethnic group, always possible in diverse Indonesia, nearly all objected to marriage between couples of different religions.
The Wahid Institute itself recorded 92 violations of religious freedom last year, up from 62 the previous year. In addition, it listed 49 cases across the country where religious practice was either prohibited or restricted. Zannuba believes intolerance can be curbed by law enforcement and government intervention. But it is wise to recall that only restrictive government actions kept Islamic activism at bay during the Suharto years. Democracy has changed all that.
In joining forces and choosing their causes carefully, extremists have had little trouble drumming up support and tacit acceptance of their views, particularly on issues where religion and morality intersect and the broader implications are lost in translation. For International Crisis Group analyst Sidney Jones, the recent Lady Gaga kerfuffle makes for an intriguing study in just how much care the radicals take in selecting the targets that will resonate with devout mainstream Muslims.
In this case, the agitation began in mid-March when the Islamic Community Forum (FUI) and the Indonesian Council of Young Intellectuals and Religious Scholars (MIUMI) announced their joint opposition to the singer’s June 3 concert.
Courtesy - The Straits Times.