Building U.S.-Indonesia Mutual Understanding Since 1994

USINDO Jakarta Special Open Forum July 31, 2017 – “Relations between Religious Minorities, Majorities, and the State in U.S. and Indonesia: Current Trends and Issues”

USINDO cordially invites you to a Special Open Forum on

Relations between Religious Minorities, Majorities and the State in Indonesia and the United States:
Current Trends and Issues  



Moderated by:  

Bonar Tigor Naipospos
Vice Chairman Executive Board
SETARA Institute

Monday, July 31, 2017
13:00 – 15:00

Lotus Room 3
Jakarta Design Center,
Jl. Gatot Subroto Kav 53, Jakarta Pusat 1026

The U.S. and Indonesia are two of the most religiously diverse and vibrant countries in the world.  However, religious diversity has always had the potential to be either beneficial or problematic for countries, depending upon how well the government and civil society can uphold principles of tolerance and respect among different religious groups.

Tensions between religious majority and minority groups have always been present in both countries, but lately, those tensions have become more significant.  In both the US and Indonesia in the past year, political campaigns have successfully used messaging against minority religious groups to mobilize society and gain political support.

Also, in both countries, there have been instances where the use of state and legal power has influenced the dynamic of religious majority and minority relations. These included in the US, the process of instituting of a ban on incoming travel for citizens of six Muslim-majority countries, and in Jakarta, the use of religious messaging and the Blasphemy Law to defeat and then imprison a candidate of Chinese-Christian descent

Are cases such as these, part of a larger pattern of interreligious tension and intolerance which will continue to grow in both countries?  How do existing laws implicate to the dynamic of religious majorities and minorities’ relations? What does it mean for religious minorities when their religious views come into conflict with something that the government, law, or the majority wants? What do U.S. perceptions of Islam in relation to US security and the use of Indonesia’s Blasphemy Law mean for the future of religion and politics in the two countries?  How should religion, society in the U.S. & Indonesia interact to ensure harmonious relations between religious majorities and minorities?

Our excellent panel of speakers will appraise these issues in this Open Forum with Prof. Brett Scharffs, Director of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and Professor of Law at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School; Prof. Dr. Nur Syam, the Secretary-General of Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs; and Mr. Febi Yonesta, the Chairman of SUAKA (Indonesian Civil Society Network for Refugee Rights Protection) and the Head of Organizational Development for Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI).

This event’s RSVP has been closed. Access the full recording of the Special Open Forum HERE