The Discontent of Minority-Majority Ties within the Concept of a Theistic Secular Indonesia

Al Khanif (Universitas Jember)


This article is a version of more in-depth discussion from my two previous articles published by the Jakarta Post; “Tolikara: Minority – Majority Ties and Its Discontent” and “The Paradox of Religious (in) Tolerance in Indonesia”. The first article examines the persecution of minority Muslim in Papua as a Christian dominated region while the second article discusses the persecution of minority Christian in Aceh as a Muslim dominated region. In principle, I argue in those two articles that minorities, especially religious minorities have long experienced various forms of discrimination because they are seen as challenging established norms of the majority. The established norms may include the exclusive interpretation of religious freedom in the constitution, the communal character of religion, and the concept of religious pluralism as well. In many incidents especially in those two regions, the discontent results in the segregation of interreligious public spheres and causes social and religious disharmony which frequently end up with the persecution of religious minorities. The majorities generally rely on the “consensus” held by the majorities to persecution religious minorities. Additionally, they also use religion as the primary source to validate the rights of religious minorities. This article concludes that even though Indonesia does not uphold a theocratic state where the state is the manifestation of the social group that adheres to a certain religion, repressions of minorities show an uneasy relationship between religion and the state and the position of religion as a pillar of collective identity within society. This complex relation brings about the realisation of religious pluralism and the protection of minorities are in contention with the application of human rights instruments in Indonesia.