Religious intolerance continues to cause much concern in Indonesia. Recent survey data has revealed that intolerance has increased further since the blasphemy conviction of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in 2017. In May this year, Indonesia also saw deadly terror attacks in Surabaya, prompting fresh fears about the spread of radical ideology among ordinary Muslims.


The state has responded strongly to these concerns, for example, by passing a revised Mass Organisations Law that will allow it to disband civil society organisations without having to go through the courts. Despite the potential threat it poses, many civil society groups support the law, declaring it necessary to combat radicalism, terrorism, and intolerance. But is this hard-line approach really the best way to tackle rising religious intolerance? Does the current approach to dealing with religious intolerance actually do more harm than good? Is there a more nuanced way to counter religious intolerance?


In Talking Indonesia this week, I discuss the phenomenon of rising intolerance towards minorities in contemporary Indonesia with Dr Sandra Hamid, The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Indonesia.


The Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Charlotte Setijadi from Singapore Management University, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.


Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.


Photo by Antara.



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