On the heels of several violent incidents against Christian congregations across the nation, on Monday President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono reiterated the importance of tolerance in school curricula.
“We are educating people not only to make them smart but also to produce Indonesians who are mentally tough, physically healthy, tolerant and willing to live in harmony with others of different religion, race, and tribe,” Yudhoyono told his ministers when opening a plenary Cabinet meeting at the State Palace.
Yudhoyono cited Pakistan as a country with citizens who are “unwilling to live in harmony and accept others with different backgrounds.”
The President said, “On TV last night there was another bombing in Pakistan. The people there are not ready to accept others of different faiths, such as Sunni and Shia.”
By creating a tolerance-centered curriculum, such violence could be stopped “upstream”, he said.
Last week, churches in different parts of the nation suffered Molotov cocktail attacks and violent threats.
In Makassar, South Sulawesi, the five churches that were attacked by vigilantes wielding Molotov cocktails last week held mass on Sunday.
In Tambora, West Jakarta, the Damai Kristus Catholic Church also held Sunday services, despite threats from the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) to use force to disperse the congregation. The extremist group whose members engage in vigilante violence, potentially against anyone who does not agree with them, claim that the church lacks a construction permit.