Saturday, December 12, 2009

Explaining the Cause of Muslim-Christian Conflicts in Indonesia: Tracing the Origins of Kristenisasi and Islamisasi

Alexander R. Arifianto

Department of Political Science, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA


Within the last decade, Indonesia has experienced numerous incidents of communal violence between conservative Muslims, who are the religious majority in the country, and the Christian minority. This has been caused by mutual prejudices and suspicions that have gradually developed between the two groups. This article will explain the origins of such sentiments by looking at the history of Muslim-Christian relations in Indonesia. It argues that the origins of tensions between the two religions date from the Dutch colonial period in Indonesia and persisted throughout Indonesia's post-independence history. First, the article will survey the roots of Kristenisasi suspicions among Indonesian Muslims, from the Dutch colonial period until the New Order regime under Suharto. Next, it will examine government policies designed to appease conservative Muslims and restrict the religious freedom of Indonesian Christians. Finally, it will discuss how these policies helped to create the fear of Islamisasi among Indonesian Christians.


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