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Indonesia Calls for Efforts against Religious Exclusivism

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A number of Indonesian religious, cultural and interfaith figures have formulated a document called the Jakarta Treatise in response to the rising tide of religious conservatism in the country. The treatise, which consists of five points, was produced at the end of a two-day discussion recently. Among those who attended the event were former Constitutional Court chief justice Mahfud MD, Catholic priests Benny Susetyo and Franz MagnisSuseno, communications researcher Savic Ali from Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization NahdlatulUlama, Liberal Islam Network (JIL) coordinator Ulil Abshar Abdalla and activist Alissa Wahid.The first point of the treatise said that while conservatism on its own was not necessarily a problem, it could become a “serious threat” if it morphed into “religious exclusivism and extremism” and became a “tool for political interests”.
The treatise said exclusivism and extremism could lead to more groups advocating for religious ideologies to become part of the state’s ideology. The treatise also suggested five strategies to address these challenges, calling on the government to take a more active role in bolstering religious moderation. “Religion needs to be returned to its role as a spiritual and moral guide and not just be focused on the ritual and formal aspects, especially those that are exclusive in nature, in both public and governmental spheres,” the treatise said.The treatise was submitted to Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, who released an official response, largely agreeing with the points in the document.