Indonesia has a history of conflict between Muslims and Christians. Between 1998 and 2001, violence between these two communities increased across the archipelago. Some radical Islamists continue to wage sporadic campaigns against Christians. These campaigns centre on the allegation that Christians are attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity, referred to as ‘Christianisation’. This research project examines how and why Muslim opposition to Christian proselytisation, real and perceived, has intensified since 1998, and to what extent this has affected the resolution of disputes between Muslims and Christians through legal processes.
This research investigates how hostility to Christian proselytisation has intensified, taking the form of vigilante violence as well as campaigns for laws based on Islam and efforts to convict Christians for overstepping the boundaries of proselytisation. It will explore factors such as the greater freedoms and opportunities for religious communities to influence law reforms under democracy, combined with a competitive local political environment in a decentralised Indonesia. It will question the extent to which real and perceived fears of Christian proselytisation are partly responsible for many of the emerging legal disputes between Muslims and Christians in democratic Indonesia.