The Indonesian government needs to equip its development policies with a cultural strategy, which can mainstream local wisdom that is rich with the spirit of tolerance, to prevent the rapidly growing intolerance movements, an expert has said.
“All this time, the government has never had a cultural strategy, which aims to make its people ready to face changes in the society, which is getting more plural,” said AWC director Ahmad Suaedy.
He was speaking during a discussion held by the Institute of Southeast Asian Islam (ISAIs) at Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University in Yogyakarta on Sunday.
In the discussion, Suaedy explained AWC research results, which were published as a book entitled, Intolerance, Tradition Revitalization and Challenges of Indonesian Diversity.
The book gives samples of local traditions, which uphold tolerance, from several areas across Indonesia. They include local communities in Depok sub-district, Depok City, West Java, the Dayak tribe who still practice their native religion called Kaharingan in Sampit, Central Kalimantan, local residents of Kahuripan village in Kebumen regency, Central Java, and many more.
Suaedy said if traditional values that are rich with tolerance are not strengthened and protected by the government through cultural strategy, these values would disappear.
Bhinneka Tunggal Ika National Alliance (ANBTI) Yogyakarta coordinator Agnes Dwi Rusjiati criticized the government’s unbalanced approach in preserving cultural traditions.
“This preservation has greatly benefited cultural traditions in society for economic purposes, such as tourism; however, other important traditions, such as native religions, have been abolished,” she said.