Religious intolerance is growing in Indonesia
di Santosh Digal
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country with more than 82% of its roughly 260 million people following Islam. Around 10% of the population is Christian. Until mid-2018, on 30 June 2018, SETARA Institute recorded 109 incidents of religion/belief freedom violations with 13 actions. These incidents of violations were spread across 20 provinces
Indonesia has been increasingly experiencing cases of intolerance, according to a think tank and research institute. The SETARA Institute for Democracy and Peace, an Indonesia-based that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom and human rights, released a mid-2018 report on the condition of the religion/faith freedom on August 20. It provides a record of the actual conditions of freedom of religion/faith. Recently, lots of interesting events to convey the progress of the data compiled by the observers of SETARA Institute considering the spirit of independence are covering the heart of the people of the archipelago, Bonar Tigor Naipospos, Deputy Chairperson of SETARA Institute told Fides.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country with more than 82% of its roughly 260 million people following Islam. Around 10% of the population is Christian. Until mid-2018, on 30 June 2018, SETARA Institute recorded 109 incidents of religion/belief freedom violations with 13 actions. These incidents of violations were spread across 20 provinces.
Most of the incidents of violations occurred at the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, with 23 events. This is a new history where in 11 years SETARA Institute conducted monitoring research; only in this period that West Java province was defeated in terms of the number of violations. Until mid-2018, in West Java, there were only 19 violations that put West Java in the second position after DKI Jakarta. East Java is ranked third with 15 violations. In the fourth position, there is DI Yogyakarta. In a special area claiming to be a ‘city of tolerance,’ there were 9 violations. NTB complements the ranks of the top five provinces with the most violations. Until mid-2018 there were 7 KBB violations, said Naipospos.
Of the 133 acts of violations of religion/belief freedom, there were 40 violations involving state administrators as the actors. The most common violations committed by state actors are criminalization as many as 7 incidents. Discrimination, both in the form of direct action (commission), as well as policy by rule as many as 5 actions. Furthermore intolerance (4), veil ban (3), and prohibition of valentine celebrations (3), and expulsion/dismissal (2). There are still 16 other incidents each carried out once by state actors, ranging from obliging the hijab/vail to the dissolution/termination of religious activities.
The state actors who committed the most violations were the police, with 14 incidents. Other state actors who also committed violations with high numbers were the Regional Governments with 12 incidents. Complementing the three major state actors, namely educational institutions with five actions.
Apart from state actors, 96 other incidents were carried out by non-state actors. Actors of violations in this category are individual citizens and individuals who are members of community organizations. The incidents most often carried out by non-state actors are intolerance, namely 12 incidents. Other actions that are also mostly carried out by non-state actors are 10 acts of blasphemy reporting. Terrors were carried out nine times, violence eight times and hate speech seven times.
Non-state actors who commit violations with the highest number are individuals, with 25 incidents. Non-state actors who committed the most violations of religion/belief freedom following mass group, Indonesian Council of Clergy/Muslim (MUI) and unknown people (9 actions each), FUI (4 actions), and FJI, MMI, and a combination of mass organizations (each of 3 actions).
Violations of freedom of religion/belief throughout 2017 have the highest number occur to citizens (ie in 28 events) and individuals of 27. Muslims became victims in seven events, while female students, clergies, and Catholics occur as victims in five events.
Until mid-2017, there were 21 events in which religious minority groups became victims. Of the four categories of religious minorities used by SETARA Institute, there are a number of minority groups that are objects of violation of their constitutional rights, as in the following table. The religious minority groups experienced several violations, the dominant ones were: intolerance, misdirection, raids, discrimination, intimidation, sealing the House of Worship, dissolution/dismissal of religious activities, freezing, attack, provocation, speeches of hatred, prohibition of worship, and blunder.
High violations of freedom of religion / belief and religious minority always in general are related to key variables, namely the not yet created substantive prerequisites for the establishment of ideal conditions of freedom of religion / belief, such as the strong political-juridical guarantee of the right to religion / belief, fair and firm law enforcement, the lack of state intervention because religion/belief is a negative right, and the establishment of tolerance and citizenship awareness (civic awareness) that encourages their active involvement (civic engagement) in respecting the freedom of religion/belief respectively as basic rights.
Compared to the data from the previous year in the same month, there was an increase in the number of incidents and actions. Until the end of June 2017, there were 80 incidents with 99 actions, meaning that in mid-2018 there was an increase of 20 incidents and 37 actions.
Increased incidents and actions in the mid-2018 report, generally caused by several key factors. First, the increasing intensity of religious politicization is in line with the year of political election, especially the third round of simultaneous regional elections in June 2018. Second, increased intolerance at the level of individuals and groups of citizens. Third, the complexity of the issue of an article on religious defamation/blasphemy. Fourth, the problem of digital illiteracy of the people and the misuse of social media instrumentation by citizens. Fifth, the rise of groups counter-narratives of radicalism, violent extremism, terrorism and anti-Pancasila as a national ideology.
Based on freedom of religion/belief's mid-year data in 2018, the police and regional governments are the two groups of state actors who contribute the most in carrying out violations of the said freedom. For this reason, the central government and civil society must pay special attention to improving the capacity of police officers, especially in the field in responding to religious dynamics in the midst of society by strengthening the perspective of diversity and neutrality and professionalism of the civil security apparatus as a state instrument for the protection of rights, constitutionally all citizens, especially religious minorities. In the context of local government, the same perspective must also be strengthened for politicians who hold authority and power at the regional level.
Technocratically, regulations at the central level provide opportunities or even trigger local governments to commit violations of freedom of religion/belief, especially in the form of discriminatory policies. Regulations at the central level, especially at the ministry level, which are the trigger points for the occurrence of violations of freedom of religion/belief must be immediately revised or even canceled altogether.
First, Joint Regulation of the Minister of Religion and Minister of Home Affairs No. 09 and No. 08 of 2006 concerning Guidelines for the Implementation of Duties of Regional Heads / Deputy Regional Heads in Maintenance of Religious Harmony, Empowerment of Religious Harmony Forum, and Establishment of Houses of Worship, which we commonly call PBM Two Ministers. SETARA Institute research data in the past 11 years explained that almost all disturbances to places of worship are rooted in the ministerial regulation. Substantially, PBM does not provide justice and legal certainty to minority groups in intra- and inter-religious relations. In that context, instead of being optimized as an instrument of harmony and justice for all religious people, PBM is often as instrumented of a complicated legal institution to filter the establishment of houses of worship for minority groups. Such a situation can easily be found in Aceh, North Sulawesi, Bali and Papua. Second, Joint Decree of the Minister of Religion, Attorney General, and Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia Number 3 of 2008, Number KEP-033 / A / JA / 6/2008, Number 199 of 2008 concerning Warnings and Orders to Adherents, Members, and / or Board Members of the Ahmadiyah Indonesia Community (JAI) and Community Residents. Which is often referred to as the Three Ministerial Decree. This Joint Decree triggered directly the occurrence of violations of the Ahmadiyah Congregation and provoked the formation of discriminatory policies against Ahmadiyah in the region.
In the context above, SETARA Institute questioned the Minister of Home Affairs Telegram Number 080/3926 / SJ dated June 25, 2018, which in fact moved the Regents / Mayors throughout Indonesia to socialize to the Ahmadiyya Jama'at Indonesia (JAI) and the public about the contents of the Three Ministers' SKB which generally contains restrictions on JAI, even though it also contains restrictions on the use of violence by the community. The telegram ordered the Regency / City PAKEM Team to conduct guidance and supervision, which in practice has been in the form of intolerance, discrimination, coercion of majority beliefs, and even criminalization. Conversely, SETARA Institute highly appreciates the instructions of the Ministry of Agrarian and Spatial Planning / National Land Agency to the Heads of BPN Regional Offices to conduct inventories and certifications of houses of worship, both mosques, churches, temples, and temples, and if land for houses of worship in disputes to be prioritized to be resolved immediately.
Mid-year data on religion/belief freedom 2018 conditions shows the rampant politicization of religion in the third round of simultaneous Jakarta local elections in June 2018. Religious politicization takes place in several main patterns of action and activities; First, banning the selection of candidates for political leaders who are not having the same religion; Second, mobilization of religious rites’ activity and teaching for political purposes, as well as: Third, black campaigns regarding the religious sides of a candidate or candidate pair. Such a pattern of politicization of religion will continue to repeat itself in the upcoming electoral celebration, especially the presidential election. In factual situations where the contestants come from the same religious identity, two other patterns will be carried out by electoral political actors to increase the electability
of candidates by utilizing religious sentiments.
Data on violations of religion/belief freedom up to mid-2018 also indicate the high number of reporting on blasphemy. This affirms the problematic blasphemy law, where the blasphemy articles and laws are more widely used to limit freedom of opinion and expression, silence criticality and ratio work in public discourse, and express and defend certain political support and affiliation. In the view of SETARA Institute, blasphemy laws must be revised immediately by shifting the focus of prosecution from punishing interpretations that differ from the majority religious interpretations and doctrines to punishing incitement, hate speech, and criminal hatred of different religious identities.
The high number of religion/belief freedom of 2018 violations up to the middle of this year shows that the said freedom rights in Indonesia are still vulnerable to violations, especially in the case of these rights relating to religious minority groups. Therefore, in the euphoric atmosphere of the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia's independence, SETARA Institute wanted to re-remind one of the goals of the Republic of Indonesia's independence, namely "Protecting all nations and all of Indonesia's bloodshed". State protection is not only related to their rights which are quantitatively many but mainly related to citizens who are vulnerable to violations and discrimination because of their small numbers.
When the exclamation of 'Liberty!' Echoed everywhere, this was the right moment to remind all of us that one of the main promises of independence was to protect the entire nation and all the bloodshed of Indonesia, including religious minorities who had been factually victims of violations by the government official, and intolerant groups, whereas in the state constitution, their independence for religion/belief and worship is guaranteed.
Article 29 paragraph (2) confirms: "The state guarantees the independence of every citizen to embrace religion and worship according to their respective religions and beliefs." The constitutional guarantee is strengthened by Article 28E Paragraph (1 & 2), Law No. 39/1999 concerning Human Rights, and Law No. 12/2005 concerning Ratification of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights
Data collection in research and monitoring regarding the condition of freedom of religion / belief and religious minority is carried out with check-list and analysis of policy documents; secondary data collection and analysis of events and actions; internal focus group discussions, and in-depth interviews with various state authorities, leaders, and the community at the regional level and at the national level determined purposively, said Halili, Director of Research at SETARA Institute.