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Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s religious minority students struggle against systemic bigotry

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

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Jakarta   /   Thu, February 4, 2021   /  04:18 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
An illustration photo of a high school student in Indonesia wearing the typical white grey uniform.(Shutterstock/Quon_ID)

School can be tough for many people, especially if they’re struggling just to fit in; it could be even more unnerving for religious minority students in Indonesia. Dhea, a 26-year-old private employee and a Catholic, knows too well how this feels. She was only 15 when she attended a public high school in Blitar, East Java. While there, she was a victim of intolerance, ironically perpetrated by the very institution that was supposed to protect her from it, and all the while her teachers taught her about the importance of religious tolerance in the classroom. It all began when her friend, Bejo (not his real name), showed an interest in Christianity and then later decided to renounce his Muslim faith. Things went downhill for him and other Christian students at the school from there. Bejo was treated differently by the other Muslim students after he converted to Christianity,...