The Jakarta Post
Bogor municipality ranks the worst in religious tolerance in Indonesia, according to a recent study by human rights advocacy group Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.
Setara carried out a study from Aug. 3 to Nov. 13, ranking 94 municipalities from the most religiously tolerant to the least.
Setara Institute deputy chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos said there had been cases in Bogor that showed how intolerance was not adequately regulated in the city.
"There are the cases of GKI Yasmin and anti-Ahmadiyah sentiment. We also heard that the Bogor administration facilitated meetings of anti-Shiites at City Hall," Bonar said in a press conference on Monday.
The congregation of Gereja Kristen Indonesia (GKI Yasmin) has been holding services outside the church building since it was sealed by the Bogor administration in 2010, following objections by radical groups. Even though the Supreme Court ordered the administration to remove the seal and let activities in the church resume, there has been no change.
Bogor Mayor Bima Arya also prohibited members of the Shiite community to celebrate the religious feast day of Asyura last month.
After Bogor, the next least tolerant municipalities in the country are Bekasi, Banda Aceh, Tangerang, Depok, Bandung, Serang, Mataram, Sukabumi, Banjar and Tasikmalaya.
Interestingly, Jakarta's satellite cities that make up Greater Jakarta are all on the least tolerant list: Bogor, Bekasi, Tangerang and Depok.
Bonar said the study reflected firm numbers of current conditions and should serve as a warning to the central government and local administrations.
'The home minister should observe our research findings so that the government can improve religious tolerance in our nation," he said.
"The government should also actively discourage any events that have the potential to incite further acts of intolerance."
The study categorized the municipalities in terms of religious tolerance according to four variables: government regulations, government acts, events involving religious intolerance recorded by the Satara Institute and religious demography of the municipality.
Jakarta's municipalities were grouped as one and ranked 65th.
Ismail Hasani, research director at Setara, said Jakarta was the capital city and so there was considerably more religious intolerant-related events that contributed to the overall score of the city.
He said events such as protests against Ahmadis, Christians and the like were more likely to take place in Jakarta.
Such groups hold their activities in the capital as they are more likely to gain attention for their causes due to the ease of access to mass media and the political influences of the nation.
'Jakarta is an exception in this case. Because these events aren't necessarily because of incompetent governance or failure of the application of regulations but rather because it is the center of activity for Indonesian society. For this reason, Jakarta cannot help but be affected,' he said.
The study revealed that the most tolerant city in the country was Pematang Siantar in North Sumatra. Other municipalities in order of tolerance are Salatiga in Central Java, Singkawang in West Kalimantan, Manado in North Sulawesi, Tual in Maluku, Sibolga in North Sumatra, Ambon in Maluku, Sorong in Papua, Pontianak in West Kalimantan and Palangkaraya in Central Kalimantan. (rin)