Earlier this month Via Meadia took a closer look at the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia. We now have some depressing poll numbers from a new survey by the Indonesian Survey Circle that confirm this trend among the general population. According to the survey, intolerance toward religious minorities and gays has become widespread:
The survey revealed that 41.8 percent and 46.6 percent respectively of the respondents would feel uncomfortable living next to Shia or Ahmadiyah followers.
That’s up from 26.7 percent and 39.1 percent, respectively, in 2005. But the greatest intolerance is reserved for gays and lesbians:
A staggering 80.6 percent of its sample population objected to having gays or lesbians as neighbors. The figure has jumped significantly from 64.7 percent in 2005.
As intolerance grows, so does the potential for violence. Indonesia had long been relatively sheltered from the religious extremism that has plagued Muslim countries in the Middle East. The increasing prevalence of religious intolerance in Indonesia suggests that radical Islam has been spreading for the past decade.Whatever the candidates might say in tonight’s foreign policy debate, this is a deep-rooted trend that presidential diplomacy won’t be able to change overnight.