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Survey Reveals Rising Intolerance in Indonesia  Tapol
 Oct 22, 2012 01:23 PDT 

From Joyo


Survey Reveals Rising Intolerance in Indonesia

October 21, 2012
The Jakarta Globe

Rangga Prakoso

Intolerance in Indonesia is growing at an alarming rate with many
citizens claiming to be uncomfortable living in the same neighborhood
with people of different backgrounds, a survey has revealed.

“The survey finds that the people who are intolerant and tend to
condone violence are generally educated people with a low income,”
Ardian Sopa, a researcher with the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI),
said at a press conference in Jakarta on Sunday to announce the
findings.

The survey polled 1,200 respondents from all 33 provinces nationwide,
using a multistage random sampling method.

Ardian said the survey showed that 67.8 percent of people with a low
educational background (senior high school or lower) were
uncomfortable living in the same neighborhood with people of different
religious background or sexual orientation.

Of these respondents, 61.2 percent were uncomfortable living next to
Shiites, 63.1 percent were uncomfortable with Ahmadis and 65.1 percent
did not want to have homosexuals in their neighborhood.

“Meanwhile, 32.2 percent of respondents with higher education
backgrounds [senior high school and up] feel uncomfortable living in
the same neighborhood with people of different religious backgrounds
or sexual orientation: 38.8 percent of them were uncomfortable with
Shiites, 36.9 percent with Ahmadis and 34.9 percent with gay
people,” Ardian said.

More than half of people with a low income, defined as less than Rp 2
million per month, were uncomfortable living in the same neighborhood
with Shiites, 61.2 percent with Ahmadis and 59.1 percent with gays. Of
those with a higher income, 42.2 percent were uncomfortable with
living next to Shiites, 38.8 percent with Ahmadis, and 40.9 percent
with gays.

“Intolerance against people with different social backgrounds is
growing. The survey also showed that the public’s tolerance toward
violence is growing,” Ardian said.

Cultural expert Jose Rizal Manua agreed with the LSI’s findings,
citing growing violence against Shia and Ahmadiyah communities in
particular.

He attributed the growing intolerance on poor law enforcement,
including the complicity of the authorities in fostering tensions by
taking bribes to side with the majority Sunnis.

“The law must be enforced [or else] it could threaten the state
ideology of Unity in Diversity,” Jose warned.

However, sociologist Wardah Hafidz expressed doubt about the findings,
saying there were still many regions in Indonesia with high levels of
tolerance.

“It has to be clear which regions were included in the survey.
Indonesia can’t be generalized like that,” she said.

She added she believed that open dialogue would strengthen tolerance
among Indonesians despite the presence of intolerant groups.

“There’s been a trend of setbacks with regard to diversity, but
it’s not as bad as what the survey suggested. There’s still
hope,” Wardah said.

The LSI’s survey, with a margin error of 2.9 percent and conducted
from Oct. 1 to 8, highlights a steady increase in intolerance over the
years.

A survey of 1,000 respondents by the institute in 2010 showed that
30.2 percent approved of violence on religious grounds, up from 13.9
percent in 2005.

LSI chairman Denny J.A. said the rising intolerance against those of
different religions was mostly found in respondents with lower
educational backgrounds.

“Intolerance is also higher among men compared to women and higher
in rural areas than in urban areas,” he said.

He also attributed the worrying decline in tolerance toward diversity
to weak law enforcement, with the poll showing that only 50 percent of
respondents were satisfied with the enforcement of the law under the
administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
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