Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Religious intolerance rising among Indonesian Muslims

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Recent surveys indicate that Indonesian Muslims are increasingly intolerant of other religions, this according to a report published by the Jakarta-based Islamic National University (UIN). This has taken the form of non-acceptance by Muslims of non-Muslim teachers in public schools and opposition to new churches or non-Muslim places of worship.

The survey, which compares data from 2001 to data from 2010, was conducted by the Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM), an independent research centre at the State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta, headed by executive director Jajat Burhanudin.

Each year, the PPIM interviews about 1,200 Muslim men and women, 17 years and older, most of whom are elementary to junior high school graduates.

The data shows that Muslim opposition to churches and non-Muslim religious buildings rose from 40.5 per cent to 57.8 per cent.

In 2010, around 27.6 per cent of those surveyed said they did mind if a non-Muslim taught their children at school, a 6.2 per cent increase compared to 2008 (21.4 percent), but still lower than in 2007 (33.5 percent).

According to PPIM executive director Burhanudin, greater intolerance is closely linked to Islamic fundamentalism, whose rise is directly related to the absence of policies to counter it in favour of a more moderate Islam.

At the same time, more and more, teachers in Muslim schools and colleges are using “emotional appeals” against non-Muslims, acting independently of any Muslim association, which makes it hard for the government to monitor them.

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