Ethnic Minorities

Indonesia Table of Contents

In Indonesia the concept of ethnic minorities is often discussed not in numerical but in religious terms. Although the major ethnic groups claimed adherence to one of the major world religions (agama) recognized by the Pancasila ideology-- Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism--there were millions of other Indonesians in the early 1980s who engaged in forms of religious or cultural practices that fell outside these categories. These practices were sometimes labelled animist or kafir (pagan). In general, these Indonesians tended to live in the more remote, sparsely populated islands of the archipelago. Following the massacre of tens of thousands associated with the 1965 coup attempt, religious affiliation became an even more intense political issue among minority groups. The groups described below represent only a sampling of the many minorities.


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Source: U.S. Library of Congress