Pilot Course on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Indonesia

Directors: Tore Lindholm and W. Cole Durham, Jr.

Sponsors: Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation

Description:  ICLRS and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights have partnered with the Centre for Religious and Socio-Cultural Diversity (CRSD) at the State Islamic University in Yogyakarta (UIN Sunan Kaluaga), headed by Director M. Rifa’i Abduh, in a graduate-level course on the freedom of religion or belief. Professors Durham and Lindholm developed course materials for a master’s level law course on the right to freedom of religion or belief in international and comparative constitutional law. An intensive pilot version of the course which lasted five days was held in Yogyakarta at the University of Indonesia Sunan Kaluaga in January-February 2007. Based on feedback from the pilot course, an informal CRSD Coordinating Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief Training was established, with “Pak” Rifa’i Abduh serving as the overall chair working with Tore Lindholm and Cole Durham as co-chairs. Another important working group was also established, the Indonesian “Training Events Planning Group.” This group will work with the Coordination Committee to identify institutions or groups interested in and capable of planning and carrying out future training courses. In addition to being used at universities, a number of other groups, including Indonesian NGOs and religious organizations, may benefit from the course. The Training Events Planning Group is responsible for formulating concrete plans, specifying needs for external professional or financial assistance from sponsors. The goal is to conduct a small number of one-, two-, or three-day trainings courses in freedom of religion or belief in various places in Indonesia, beginning in 2008.