Indonesia Legislature Bans Racial Discrimination

Indonesia has long regarded itself not only as the largest Muslim nation in the world but as a society which respects ethnic and religious diversity. There have been several incidents during the past few years in which ethnic groups were subject to attack by Muslim fanatics, but, the majority of Indonesians believe in tolerance. The Indonesian House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that terms ethnic and racial discrimination as serious crimes. It was hoped the bill would end discrimination against minority groups. Chairman of the special committee which worked on the bill, Murdaya Poo, commented: “A man cannot choose to be born as part of a certain race or ethnic group, and therefore discrimination must cease to exist.

Hopefully, Indonesia can be a model for other Muslim nations which still have legal discrimination against members of non-Muslims. The legislature is debating whether imprisonment for racial prejudice should be the minimum sentence to anyone convicted of violating the law.