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Government ‘To Blame’ For Religion-Based Violence


By Parulian Tinambunan, Surabaya

Religious-based violence in Indonesia is the fault of government, not the individual religions, a leading church figure said yesterday.

“The existing unwise law gives space to such violence. So the problem is not inter-religious harmony itself but (the government’s) ignorance to perpetrators of violence,” said Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, executive secretary of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference’s commission for ecumenical and inter-religious affairs.


The government must take firm action against perpetrators of violence, he added. Instead it remains silent and does nothing to rein them in. As a result, violence victimized innocent people.

The priest was speaking before delivering a talk on inter-religious harmony to more than 50 officials from the directorate general for Catholic community guidance (Bimas Katolik) at both national and local levels.

“Inter-religious harmony in Indonesia is not as bad as what people describe. There is a problem indeed, but this would be who the real perpetrators of violence are,” he told participants.

He later mentioned passive and active intolerance as two main roots of violence. “Active intolerance is more dangerous,” he said, reminding that puritanism will also create terrorism if it is not given serious attention.

In order to improve inter-religious harmony in the country, Father Susetyo called on participants to work together with dioceses, diocesan commissions for ecumenical and inter-religious affairs, and priests. “If you can do it well, then you can prevent violence from happening,” he said.

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The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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