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Islamic radicals threaten Indonesian tradition of religious tolerance

November 09, 2010

Corruption, intolerance, and poverty are among the leading problems that face Indonesia, according to the secretary-general of the nation’s Catholic bishops’ conference.

As US President Barack Obama toured the world’s most populous Islamic country, Bishop Johannes Pujasumarta spoke with the Fides news service about the nation, noting that Indonesia “could be a model of pluralism, dialogue, and mutual respect between different communities, despite the difficulties.”

The Christians who make up 10% of Indonesia’s population have generally enjoyed a harmonious relationship with their neighbors, the bishop said. But that stability is now endangered by “the activity of small radical Islamist groups, which should be considered as groups that intend to change the very foundations of the state.”?

The principles of national identity in Indonesia, known as Pancasila, call for inter-religious cooperation and respect, Bishp Pujasumatra said. Those foundational principles are now being threatened by groups that hope to impose Islamic Shari’a law.


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