Leading women warn of increasing intolerance
The Jakarta Post
Top women activists issued a warning on Monday about the increasing threat of intolerance toward minority groups in the country.
Former first lady and women’s rights activist Shinta Nuriyah Wahid warned of the impact of radical thoughts and teachings that are increasingly accessible to Indonesians.
“I feel that kebhinnekaan [diversity] is being torn apart as radical and fundamentalist groups have been trying to brainwash Indonesian people, especially the younger generation,” Shinta told the media after addressing a seminar on women and diversity in Jakarta on Monday.
She quoted results of a survey co-held by the Wahid Foundation and the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) in August last year, which revealed that 59.9 percent of the surveyed 1,520 Muslim respondents disliked minority groups and disapproved of members of these groups holding public office.
Another activist Omi Komariyah emphasized that diversity should be a uniting factor for Indonesians.
“Kebhinnekaan should be a uniting factor for all of us and difference should not be used to mock each other. We should unite to build the nation,” Omi, wife of prominent Muslim thinker the late Nurcholis Madjid, told the seminar.
Meanwhile, University of Indonesia psychology professor Saparinah Sadli called on Indonesians to respect differences.
“Kebhinnekaan is [a form of] difference. If we believe that every human is different, then kebhinnekaan is us. That is the true manifestation of kebhinnekaan,” Saparinah told the same seminar.
Shinta suggested that in real life parents and teachers should be at the forefront in preventing children from coming in contact with such radical and intolerant ideas. (mrc)
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