Study finds West Java most religiously intolerant province in the country

Jawa Pos – November 24, 2019
Setara Research Director Halili – February 25, 2019 (Tribune)
Setara Research Director Halili – February 25, 2019 (Tribune)

Muhammad Ridwan – The Setara Institute for Democracy has released the results of research ranking the level of religious intolerance in Indonesian provinces. The results showed that West Java recorded the largest number of violations against religious freedom or belief between 2014 and 2019.

“Over the last five years, West Java has been the province with the most violations against religious freedom”, said Setara Research Director Halili in the Menteng suburb of Central Jakarta on Sunday November 24.

Setara’s research found 162 violations of religious freedom or belief in West Java in 2014-2019. This figure is higher than Jakarta which was the second worst with 113 violations over the same period.

In next place after Jakarta was East Java with 98 violations, Central Java with 66 violations, Aceh with 65 violations, Yogyakarta Special Province with 37 violations, Banten with 36 violations, North Sumatra with 28 violations, South Sulawesi with 27 violations and West Sumatra with 23 violations.

Halili said that several factors were found that made West Java the most intolerant, the first being the rapid growth of intolerant organisations.

“The first factor was the actors. Key actors which resulted in many violations against religious freedom in West Java”, explained Halili.

The other factor, said Halili, was the rapid growth of conservative Islam in West Java. Next, political factors also had an influence on West Java having the highest level of intolerance.

“We identified that religious identity politics were highly politicised in West Java. During the last pilkada [election of regional heads] there were two regions which were most intensely politicised. One was North Sumatra, the second West Java. It was very strong”, he said.

Then, he continued, was political manipulation by nationalist actors. According to Halili, political parties with a nationalist ideology also produced regional regulations based on religious stipulations.

“Nationalist political parties in West Java also produced [regional regulations] smacking of religious stipulations”, he said in conclusion.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “SETARA Institute Sebut Jawa Barat Terbanyak Kasus Intoleransi”.]