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Jakarta Post

Religious mapping, dialogue needed to end spats: Analysts

  • Hasyim Widhiarto

    The Jakarta Post

Bekasi, West Java   /   Fri, February 19 2010   /  10:11 am

Packing up: Two members of Pondok Timur Indah HKBP church congregation stack plastic chairs after a Sunday Services on Feb. 7 while hundreds of residents of Pondok Timur Indah housing complex protested. JP/R. Berto WedhatamaRusli (not his real name), 38, was in a quandary when local clerics recently asked him and other residents to sign a petition against the building of the Filadelfia Huria Kristen Batak Protestan (HKBP) church in their neighborhood in Jejalen Jaya.

“The clerics said that if we didn’t sign, they wouldn’t recite prayers at our funerals,” says the self-professed moderate Muslim.

“I insisted on not signing it, but most of my neighbors were cowed by the threat.”

With local clerics still playing a pivotal leadership role in rural parts of Bekasi, people in the Muslim-majority region are easily dragged into conflicts sparked by religious ten...