October 11, 2011. (Romereports.com)
The society of Indonesia is one that's heavily dominated by an Islamic influence. It's a country of some 230 million people and is 86% Muslim. While Protestants make up 6% and Catholics are 3% of the population. The organization Aid to the Church in Need reports that every year dozens of churches come under attack. Since 2006 alone there has been at least 200 attacks against Christian churches.
Peter Turang is the archbishop from the province of Kupang. He notes that there is more to the violence than just a difference of religion. Msgr. Peter Turang
Archbishop of Kupang (Indonesia)
“One of the topics we discuss is the actual condition which happens in this world and also in Indonesia, the rise of the intolerance among the people. Not only because of religious conviction but because of socio-economic conditions of the people.”
The pope spoke to the Indonesian bishops about the importance of freedom of religion not only in words but also in practice. Indonesia's constitution includes the freedom of religion but the protection of this right is often quite different in reality. Msgr. Peter Turang
Archbishop of Kupang (Indonesia)“According to the constitution, the Indonesian respect freedom of religion. But sometimes the freedom of religion is varied from nation to nation because of the actual situation of the religion itself and the socio-politics itself.”
Many inside Indonesia blame president Susilo Yudhoyono and his government for not doing enough to stop the inter-religious violence. Since Yudhoyono took office in 2004 the country has seen more religious violence that at any time in their country minus the 1990's when there were political uprisings.
For Archbishop Peter Turang and the rest of Indonesia's religious minority the chance of violence is something they live with and the only way to end it is by teaching religious tolerance.