Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:00

Fostering and Maintaining Tolerance in Indonesia

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November 16 is commemorated as International Tolerance Day. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization -UNESCO set November 16 as the International Tolerance Day which aims to provide public awareness of the importance of tolerant attitudes in maintaining relations among communities. International Tolerance Day has been commemorated since 1996.

How is the tolerance in Indonesia today? Indonesia is known as a plural society with around 1,300 ethnic groups with diverse cultures and languages. Indonesia also has six official religions recognized by the state. These religions are Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. Although various ethnicities, languages, cultures and religions, Indonesians still live in harmony, because Indonesia highly upholds the values of tolerance until today.

There are many examples that show how inter-religious tolerance in Indonesia has been established. Commemorating religious holidays is one example and this is recognized as national holidays, although the number of followers of the religion is few.

Indonesia as a country that highly upholds the values of tolerance has been recognized by the world. Some world leaders who have visited Indonesia praised Indonesia's tolerance. The 44th President of the USA, Barack Obama while speaking at the 4th Diaspora Forum in Jakarta in July 2017 appreciated tolerance in Indonesia. Chief adviser of the Iranian Spiritual Leader, Mohsen Araki, during a visit to the Office of the Vice President, Jusuf Kalla in December 2016 praised Indonesia for being able to show tolerance among religious communities. He said that Indonesia is one of the countries that becomes an example for living side by side, living peace, and brotherhood

Nevertheless, Indonesia is not free from some cases of intolerance. in recent years, some groups of people showed that attitude. Low  enforcement of law may be a trigger for the emergence of intolerant attitudes apart from economic and political factors.

All stakeholders of the Indonesian nation are accountable to care, maintain and foster an attitude of tolerance so that Indonesia's future is protected from fanaticism conflicts among groups. Thus, both government and mass organizations have to care more and always instill national values, and fight for a culture of tolerance and diversity in Indonesia. So, peaceful Indonesia without inter-group conflict is not just a dream.

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