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Jakarta Post

When religious ignorance is bliss

  • Syafa Almirzanah

Washington, DC   /   Fri, March 2 2012   /  10:54 am

Plurality is a fact of our contemporary world, both on a global scale and often on the level of specific societies. Plurality is also in the very texture of Indonesia. Despite its religious diversity, Indonesia has until recently been generally known as a country where a number of great world religions meet and develop in peaceful coexistence.

For decades, diversity in Indonesia was seen as a model of harmonious relations, where people of different religious backgrounds could live and cooperate peacefully. Indonesian Muslims were among the most peaceful and tolerant of the Islamic world.

In the last decade or so, however, international media and academics have warned of rising intolerance in Indonesia. Especially since the downfall of Soeharto in 1998, radical Islam has been perhaps the most vivid and enduring image generated by Indonesia. Recently we also witnessed even mo...