On April 20, members of the world’s largest Muslim organization and one of the world’s largest Christian organizations announced the creation of a joint working group to counter two threats to religious freedom and to society more broadly: religious extremism and secular extremism.
A seemingly small incident in Indonesia is the first shot in the use of religion, specifically accusations of blasphemy, as a political weapon against President Jokowi in the ongoing presidential race.
Last weekend’s seven bombings in Surabaya reveal a marked escalation of ISIS capabilities in Indonesia and also show changes in tactics. This is probably only the first wave of awaited attacks by ISIS returnees from the Middle East. Nevertheless, the terrorism threat in the country remains small.
Indonesian President Jokowi should make clearer that while the Indonesian Ulama Council’s (MUI) has every right to issue its opinions, it does not speak for the government nor make laws for this diverse and multi-religious country.