Director of Amnesty International Indonesia
When first president Sukarno was under pressure from Muslim groups in 1965, he complied with their calls by issuing a law for the prevention of “religious abuse and/or defamation” to “protect” official religions from mystical indigenous faiths.
At that time the law was used to protect Indonesia’s official religions of Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Buddhism. It was aimed at followers of indigenous faiths who were considered to have blasphemed against official beliefs.
Now there is growing concern this draconian law not only targets followers of indigenous faiths but also followers of minority religions, along with people from ethnic minorities, who have done or said things deemed to insult majority religions.
It is important to consider the relative numbers of adher...
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