Report: Religious violence up in Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia - Episodes of religious violence and intolerance were more common in Indonesia in 2008, a new report says.

The 2008 Report on the Condition of Religious and Faith Freedom in Indonesia said that state agencies as well as radical Islamic and community-based groups were involved, The Jakarta Post reported. The report was released Tuesday by the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.

The report documented 265 incidents of religious violence last year, up from 135 in 2007.

Much of the increase was spurred by Islamic groups putting pressure on the government to ban Jamaah Ahmadiyah, a sect many Muslims regard as heretical, the report said. The sect was founded in India in the late 19th century and has been active in Indonesia since 1925.

"The increase is spurred by the rising persecution against the Jamaah Ahmadiyah by Islamic organizations to pressure the government to issue a presidential decree banning the minority sect," the report said.

The war in Gaza has also sparked at least one incident of anti-Jewish intolerance in January, the sealing of a synagogue in East Java.