International Crisis Group,
Jakarta/Brussels, 24 November 2010: The Indonesian government needs a strategy to address growing religious intolerance, particularly in areas where hardline Islamists and Christian evangelicals are competing for the same ground.
Indonesia: “Christianisation” and Intolerance,* the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the impact of clashing fundamentalisms, using a series of incidents in Bekasi, a suburb of Jakarta, as a case study. Islamists fear “Christianisation” – a term that generally refers both to Christian efforts to convert Muslims and the alleged growing influence of Christianity in Muslim-majority Indonesia – and use it as a justification for mass mobilisation and vigilante attacks. Aggressive proselytising by Protestant evangelical groups in Muslim strongholds has exacerbated the problem.
“Without a clear strategy, mob rule prevails”, says Sidney Jones, Crisis Group Senior Adviser. “All too frequently officials capitulate to the group that makes the most noise, and the victors are then emboldened to raise the stakes for the next confrontation”.