In the recent Jakarta elections in Indonesia, Anies Baswedan, a former education minister who garnered support from hard-line Muslim groups, defeated incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent. University of Michigan experts can comment on the impact.
John Ciorciari is an associate professor at the Ford School of Public Policy. His research focuses on Southeast Asia and examines foreign policy strategies, human rights and the reform of international economic institutions.
"Baswedan has cultivated a moderate image over the years and says that he will celebrate diversity as governor," he said. "That may well be his intention. But the ethnic and religious biases his campaign helped activate won't easily be put back into a bottle. This is a dangerous development in a large and diverse country with a longstanding but fragile commitment to moderation and tolerance."
Linda Lim, professor of strategy at the Ross School of Business, is an expert on political economy of local and multinational business in Southeast Asia.
"We should not over-read the election result as reflective of a decline in religious tolerance in Indonesia," she said. "This was a very specific political event with a complex background, not all of it religious."