Dialectics of Religious Freedom and Harmony in Post-Reform Indonesia

Monday, September 9th, 2019, 08:26 WIB

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Contemporary Indonesian religious life has seen a number of religious freedom violations that are often overshadowed by the government’s insistence on the maintenance of religious harmony, which is habitually perceived to be under threat, through the process of minoritization. As a matter of principle and policy, religious harmony has conveniently provided the state with the necessary cover to dominate both the country’s discourse and praxis of religious diversity at the expense of religious freedom. Attempting to explain the reasons behind this tendency, by deriving data from FGDs and workshops in five cities and in-depth interviews, my study suggests that the Indonesian state and society has yet to get over the state-centric management of religious diversity, which was in full swing throughout the 32-year Suharto rule. 

Syamsul Asri is a Ph.D. candidate at the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS), Yogyakarta, and a lecturer at Fajar University, Makassar, South Sulawesi. Hi ongoing research for his dissertation deals with the arba’in walk, an annual interreligious pilgrimage to Karbala, Iraq.