Rejecting Religious Intolerance in South-East Asia
Using the United Nations Rabat Plan of Action as a road-map for combatting rising religious hatred in Myanmar and Indonesia
This article is going to discuss religious intolerance in Myanmar and Indonesia. Religious intolerance in these two countriesis driven by extreme ideologies which reject tolerance and diversity. These ideologies influence society and generate a culture of discrimination. In Myanmar, Muslims and Christians face a campaign of hatred led by a militant ultra-nationalist Buddhist movement which has resulted in several outbreaks of violence in the past five years. The predominantly Muslim Rohingya people have been the most severely victimized, enduring grave human rights violations which some international experts describe as ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘crimes against humanity’ and potentially genocide.In Indonesia, a country with a tradition of religious tolerance, radical Islamism has become an increasing threat to non-Sunni Muslim minorities, particularly the Ahmadiyya and Shi’a communities, as well as Christians and other religions and to Sunni moderates who work to preserve Indonesia’s pluralism. To challenge the pervasive influence of intolerance, a variety of imaginative strategies are necessary.Recommendations will call state actors, media and civil society to work together to combat hate speech narratives through all available channels: education, the judiciary, campaigning platforms, the media, legislation and international diplomacy.
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