In the report, Setara said there were 129 cases of religious attacks in the country during the first semester of this year, dropping slightly from 140 over the same period last year.
Setara recorded a total of 244 religious attacks throughout 2011.
The report for the first semester of 2012 found that groups continue to inflict violence on their traditional targets; Christians 39 times, Ahmadiyah was attacked 12 times, private citizens 20 times, the Shia community 15, but the group also broadened their attacks on book publishers, pluralism activists and students, each category with five cases.
The attacks on private citizens include Alexander Aan, 32, a Minang civil servant who was arrested for blasphemy after he declared himself an atheist on a social media web site. He was sentenced to two years and six months’ imprisonment and a Rp 100 million (US$10,600) fine by the Negeri Muaro District Court in West Sumatra in mid-June.
The report also recorded attacks against members of the media and teachers.
“The opposition toward Irshad Manji and the attack on a publishing company after publishing a book that allegedly ‘defamed Islam’, were few of the examples of how this situation is becoming worse compared to last year, as these people and institutions were not being targeted last year,” said Setara chairman Hendardi in a press briefing on Monday.
The discussion on Manji’s book, Allah, Liberty and Love in Jakarta and Yogyakarta was disrupted by members of radical groups who tried to break up the meeting. The groups said that Manji was promoting lesbianism among youths.
Islam Defenders Front (FPI) also succeeded in pushing publishing giant Gramedia Pustaka Utama to recall a book titled Lima Kota Paling Berpengaruh di Dunia (Five Cities that Ruled the World) but also to burn the books in stocks last month after the group found that book has cited Prophet Muhammad as a thief and a pirate.
Last year, Setara Institute recorded that 244 attacks were made against minority groups, including Ahmadiyah being attacked 144 times, Christians attacked 54 times, minority Islamic sects 38 times, regular Muslims attacked 12 times and Shia Muslims attacked 10 times.
Setara deputy chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos said that the worst attacks were against the Minang Atheist.
Bonar also said some members of the minority groups were also to blame for the attack.
“Teachers of Geeta International School in Cirebon who rejected students for wearing jilbab earlier this year are also one of the examples of attacks against the basic rights of students,” Bonar told The Jakarta Post.
The survey also found that non-state actors were responsible for the majority of attacks against minority groups.
Civil organizations, including educational institutions, were responsible for 111 attacks on minorities, while officials at the local government were responsible for 44 attacks and members of the National Police for 24 violations.
“From 68 acts of violations conducted by the states, 16 attacks were possible because of omission by the police,” said Hendardi. “This more widespread violence against religious freedom was of course triggered by the lack of a deterrent effect due to the ignorance of the authorities.”