Panel discussion: "Building a Plural Society: Interreligious Relations in Indonesia"


Location: C103 Hesburgh Center

On Friday, May 2, the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies will host a panel discussion on “Building a Plural Society: Interreligious Relations in Indonesia.” In addition to the distinguished scholars listed below, the event will feature Mr. Andriana Supandy, the Indonesian Consul General based in Chicago. The panel discussion begins at 10 a.m. in Room 103 of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies.

By way of background: Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world with over 200 million Muslims; however, Indonesia is not an Islamic state. Indonesian Islam, which has long been known as “tolerant Islam,” recently underwent a dramatic shift in some sectors toward radicalization. Since the collapse of the authoritarian regime in 1998, sectarian conflicts and persecution of religious minorities have become widespread. Islamist groups and militias, albeit a small in number, are determined to carry out their vision of public morality through violent acts. Meanwhile, the democratically elected government appears powerless to stop them. In addition, following the recent decentralization policy, a number of districts in Indonesia have adopted shari’a-based regulations. These unsettled circumstances raise concerns about the future of religious freedom and the country’s path toward a democratic consolidation.

The panel discussion will bring together scholars (both Indonesian and Western) who have been deeply engaged in interreligious issues in Indonesia.  Father Armada Riyanto, CM, director of the Master’s program at Widya Sasana School of Philosophy and Theology in Malang, Indonesia, will discuss issues related to “Multiculturalism and Interreligious Dialogue in Indonesia.”  Nelly van Doorn-Harder, Professor of Islamic Studies at Wake Forest University, will address the challenges to religious freedom at the grassroots level; she is currently working with the Oslo coalition. Political scientist Kikue Hamayotsu of Northern Illinois University will analyze the potential impact of this year’s elections (the Parliamentary election in April and the Presidential election in July).

For additional information, please refer to the event page on the Kroc website:; or contact Mun’im Sirry at