chapter  5
The Politics of Religious Intolerance in Indonesia
Mainstream-ism Trumps Extremism?
ByGreg Fealy
Pages 17

This chapter explores the interaction between the most conservative and militant groups, and the broad mass of the Indonesian Islamic community. The attack on Yudhoyono's Appeal of Conscience Foundation (ACF) award reflected a growing concern and frustration within domestic and international rights groups about rising religious intolerance in Indonesia over the past five years and perceived government inaction. Indonesian Muslims are generally characterised as being one of the most moderate communities in the Islamic world, with a long tradition of harmonious coexistence between faiths, and religious extremism confined to the fringes of society. The reliance on polling reflects a shift in Indonesian politics away from doctrinal and philosophical issues to pragmatism. Prominent among the protocols is a requirement that Front Pembela Islam (FPI) leaders ascertain local community sentiment towards an 'objectionable' group. The Ahmadi community, which is estimated to have several hundred thousand members, is largely friendless among major political and social groupings.