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Main » 2013 » March » 24 » Religious Intolerance in Indonesia 'Strips Away Other Rights'
1:44 PM
Religious Intolerance in Indonesia 'Strips Away Other Rights'
Palti, a preacher from the HKBP Filadelfia congregation, shows the 'sealed' sign on the church in Jajalen Raya, Bekasi. (Photo courtesy of Andreas Harsono) The effects of growing religious intolerance in Indonesia go much deeper than just limiting freedom to worship and have the potential in some cases to affect the victims’ entire lives, activists say.

"The domino effect of the intolerance is tremendous, not only are people prevented from the freedom to worship their God but their other rights have been denied,” Palti Panjaitan, the national coordinator of the Solidarity of Victims of Religious Freedom Violations (Sobat KBB), told the Jakarta Globe recently.

Palti, the pastor of Bekasi, West Java’s HKBP Filadelfia church — long subject to persecution — said many victims of religious intolerance were prevented from living their lives normally.

"Ahmadi can’t marry legally and their children would be born without needed documentation. They will be considered illegitimate [children] who were born out of wedlock, and later these children can’t access many facilities as citizens, including Jamkesmas [state health insurance for the poor],” he said, referring to adherents of the Islamic sect known as Ahmadiyah.

Although there is no formal instruction from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, allegations of an unspoken rule prohibiting the marrying of Ahmadiyah couples have long existed.

"The sad thing about it is that many victims choose to stay quiet because they would be criminalized if they fought back,” he said.

Palti himself has been named a suspect by police for allegedly assaulting a member of an intolerant group on Christmas Eve last year, a charge Palti says was trumped up.

Yuniyanti Chuzaifah, chairwoman of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), said even though Indonesia has ratified several international conventions pertaining to human rights, violations against minorities remained rampant.

Yuniyanti said most victims of religious intolerance could not access their economic and social rights because of pressures from hard-liners.

"They can’t obtain an ID card, they can’t join the election and they can’t even set up an account at banks,” she said.

Religious violence had started to take its toll on children especially, Yuniyanti said. In some places like Bekasi, she said, children had started to fear religious symbols, associating them with violence.

"Children are terrified seeing people dressing in Islamic garb and they are scared whenever they hear somebody chant ‘Allahu akbar’ because they think it means an attack. This is sad, because religion has become something terrifying for children.”

Palti urged the government must take immediate action.

"Now we hear persecuted people have started to retaliate; in my hometown in North Sumatra we heard some mosques were burned down. This has to stop now,” he said.

A report by the Setara Institute, an Indonesia-based research and advocacy group, found 216 cases of violent attacks on religious minorities in 2010, 244 cases in 2011 and 264 cases in 2012.
Category: National News | Views: 568 | Added by: Admin | Tags: Human Rights, Indonesia, Religi | Rating: 0.0/0
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