anak Indonesia belajar di mesjid dengan guru Indonesian teacher teaching students mosque

Multicultural societies pose many challenges for democracy, including the management of diverse and often competing aspirations of different cultural groups. In Indonesia, problematic inter-religious relations have led to violent conflicts and persecution of religious minorities.

They can also manifest in less extreme, but arguably equally important forms such as political polarisations along with religious identities. Our LIFT study focuses on tolerance as a key aspect of democratic citizenship.

Tolerance exists when people understand their differences with others and they do not use power to coercively intervene when they disapprove with others. Further, religious tolerance can be defined as a general positive orientation toward followers of other religions.

Teachers play an important role in cultivating tolerance among young people. Our LIFT study investigates pre-service teachers’ commitment to their religion (i.e. religious beliefs and practices), perceptions and experiences regarding religious in/tolerance, and motivations to teach tolerance in schools.

The LIFT Study gratefully acknowledges the support of Dr Anindito Aditomo, Dr Teguh Wijaya Mulya, Dr Ahmad Bukhori Muslim and Dr Zulfa Sakhiyya as research collaborators. This project is funded by The Indonesia Democracy Hallmark Research Initiative (2019-2020) and the Melbourne-Indonesia Research Partnerships Program (2020).

Recent publications:

Suryani, A. & Muslim, A. B. (2024). Embracing Diversity: Preparing Future Teachers to Foster Religious Tolerance. Springer.

Wijaya Mulya, T., Aditomo, A., & Suryani, A. (2022). On being a religiously tolerant Muslim: Discursive contestations among pre-service teachers in contemporary Indonesia. British Journal of Religious Education. 44 (1), 66-79. doi: 10.1080/01416200.2021.1917338 [PDF]

Wijaya Mulya, T., Zakkhiya. Z., Muslim, A. B., & Suryani, A. (2022). Locally-grounded, embodied, and spiritual: Exploring alternative constructions of democratic education with/in Indonesian schools. Pedagogy, Culture & Society. doi: 10.1080/14681366.2022.2142840. [PDF]

For a summary of our findings please contact Dr Anne Suryani at or click here for updates.