Friday, November 22nd, 2013
… of the world, converting from Islam to Christianity is an offence that is punishable by death. In Indonesia, one of the world's largest Muslim countries, one MBB shares her testimony of coming to Christ from a Muslim background.
11/22/2013 Indonesia ( Christian Post ) - Born into a devout Muslim family, Erna* grew up learning the Quran in East Java, Indonesia. "Since I was in elementary school, the reason for me to read the Quran was so that I could understand the religion better," …
Category: Asia , Countries , Indonesia , News
Tags: Asia Indonesia
Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
Friday, May 17th, 2013
Indonesian President Yudhoyono intends to accept an award for promoting religious freedom at the end of May despite several protests from Christians and other religious minorities. Christians say the president does not deserve an award for religious freedom when incidents of persecution against Christians have risen considerably under his administration. In 2012, ICC estimates that at least 50 churches were forcibly shut down by local authorities across Indonesia at the behest of radical Islamic organizations. In addition threats against Christians on the island of Sulawesi continue on a regular basis.
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Indonesia's President, Susilo Yudhoyono, was recently granted an award for promoting religious freedom by a U.S. based inter-faith group. The award comes as a shock to representatives of certain Christian communities as well as other religious minorities that have faced harassment, forced closure of places of worship, and even violence at the hands of the Muslim majority. They say the president has done little if anything to prevent the "rising wave of religious intolerance" that is overtaking Indonesia.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
It appears that the forced closure and demolition of churches in Indonesia is beggining to attract international attention. Over the Easter weekend religious leaders from the United States, including Christians, Muslims, and Jews, wrote a letter of support to the churches of Indonesia that have been forced from their places of worship by radical groups.
Sunday, March 31st, 2013
Christians from multiple churches gathered in front of Indonesia's presidential palace on Easter Sunday to hold a special service and protest worsening discrimination across the country. Among the Christians were members of the HKBP Setu church, which was demolished just ten days ago by local authorities in the city of Bekasi. The Indonesian government has largely capitulated to demands by radical Islamic groups that churches abandon their places of worship. Dozens of churches in the Jakarta area alone have been sealed shut by authorities as radical mobs gather outside to protest their existence.
Thursday, March 28th, 2013
The recent demolition of a large Protestant church on the outskirts of Indonesia's capital last week has sparked defiance from Christians upset with years of discrimination and persecution. Members of the HKBP Setu church watched in horror as their church was torn down by heavy machinery last week while Islamic protestors clapped and cheered. The demolition is the first of its kind in the city of Bekasi, an industrial area that is known for highly active radical Islamic political groups. But protests outside of Christian churches have been common place for years and Christians have often found themselves forced out of their buildings and threatened by local Islamic leaders.
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Long respected by the international community as an example of a religiously tolerant, Muslim democracy, Indonesia has quickly been losing it's reputation as radical groups gain greater influence. A new report released by Christian Solidarity Worldwide documents a precipitous decline in tolerance over the past several years, pointing out that all minority faiths are experiencing greater discrimination and violence. Indonesian Christians have seen a dramatic number of churches closed (ICC counted 50 forcibly closed churches in 2012) over the past few years by mobs of radical Muslims and local authorities.
Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a UK based religious freedom advocacy organization, is visiting with high level members of the UK government and presenting a new report to the House of Commons today on the rapidly deteriorating situation for religious minorities in the world's largest Muslims majority nation, Indonesia. The report is "detailed, comprehensive, and compelling" and notes that the rise of religious extremism in Indonesia is leading to regular acts of harassment and violence against members of minority faiths, including Christians.
Monday, February 24th, 2014
Indonesia has long been regarded by the international community as a shining example of a religiously pluralistic and tolerance Muslim-majority democracy. Unfortunately, that reputation is being increasingly tarnished by radical Islamic groups targeting Christians and other religious minorities for demonstrations, threats, and outright violence. On Thursday of last week, armed radicals stormed the construction site of a new church on the Indonesian island of South Sumatra, blocking Christians from continuing work on the building. Since the start of December, ICC has tracked more than 10 incidents of churches forcibly closed in the country by radicalized Islamic groups.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014
Indonesia's Home Affairs Minister is speaking out against a new bylaw that would force residents of Bengkulu Province in South Sumatra to pray five times daily and visit the mosque on Friday or face punishment. The Religious Affairs Ministry of the province claims this falls within their jurisdiction, while the federal government disagrees. In November, nineteen district government employees in a separate part of Indonesia were fired for failing to attend 5 a.m. prayers. Indonesia publicly claims to be one of the most tolerant nations in the world when it comes to religious diversity, but recent years have seen a spike in church closings and attacks on religious minorities by hard-line Islamic political groups.
Monday, January 13th, 2014
The closure of churches across Indonesia spiked in December as radical Islamic groups used the Christmas holidays to target Christian congregations. For several years radical organizations have held protests and pressured local government officials into shutting down Christian places of worship, using the pretext of lacking the proper building permits. These permits are often impossible for Christian churches to obtain, and even sucesfully obtaining a legal permit is not a guarantee that the church will be allowed to operate. At least two churches in Indonesia, including the GKI Yasmin and the HKBP Filadelfia not only obtained proper permits, but took their cases to Indonesia's Supreme Court and won when the validity of their permits was challenged. Nevertheless local authorities refuse to reopen either church.
Friday, December 27th, 2013
The congregation of the GKI Yasmin church in Bogor, Indonesia, celebrated Christmas this year in a temporary shelter, clinging to hope that their church building will eventually be re-opened. The congregation was forced out of its home almost two years ago by protests from radical Muslims groups. The local government refused to assist and even sealed off the church building, blocking the members from going inside. The church has won two favorable rulings from the Supreme Court of Indonesia in the case of its building, but the local governor has refused to comply with the rulings. GKY Yasmin's case is just one example of a church shut down as a result of pressure from extremist groups. In December, ICC reported on five other churches that had been shut down under similar circumstances around the country.
Friday, December 27th, 2013
In the northern Indonesian province of Aceh radical Muslims have forced a major hotel to cancel New Year's Eve celebrations, saying the holiday comes "from the Christian tradition." Radical groups have also promised "raids and punishment" for anyone who ignores the ban on celebrating both Christmas and New Year's Eve. Aceh is governed by Sharia law and conditions for Christians in the province are difficult. Last year several small churches were shut down by the local government.
Friday, December 20th, 2013
The "Ulema Council," a group of Islamic leaders in the northern Indonesian province of Aceh, have warned the Muslim community not to celebrate the Christmas holiday, calling it "haram," or sin. While Indonesia is considered a moderate Islamic nation, the province of Aceh is governed by Sharia law. Christians in the province have also been warned to "respect" Islamic traditions. Last year several small churches were shut down by the local government for ostensibly violating permit laws on places of worship, a justification often used by radical groups to put pressure on Christian places of worship.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Indonesia's national police chief has called up thousands of extra police personnel to focus on preventing terrorist attacks over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Despite a reputation for religious tolerance, anti-Christian sentiment remains strong among radical organizations and in some hotbeds of radical activity in the country. Since the start of December, ICC has recorded five incidents of church services shut down after Islamist protests forced the churches to close.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
After more than seven months with little to no reports of church closures, this week has seen a spate of news emerging on Christian congregations forced from their places of worship in Indonesia. On the island of Sulawesi the local government actually began dismantling a church that had been forced to apply for a permit to fix its roof by protests from radical Islamic groups. The congregation had been conducting Sunday school in the building since 1985, well before Indonesia's 2006 law on requiring places of worship to obtain a building permit came into effect. In Bandung, West Java, a often harassed church was stormed by radical Islamists on Nov. 24, and his since stopped holding services. The church, made up of around a thousand members, has relocated to a nearby "shop house" and has halted services. In 2012, ICC recorded 50 church closures across Indonesia.
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
On Sunday Christians worshiping on the Indonesian island of North Sumatra were forced to abandon their worship service and cancel planned services after hundreds of radical Muslims, many belonging to the extremist Islamic Defenders Front, disrupted the service and began issuing threats. Police in riot gear were forced to step in and escort the Christians away from the church, though it is unclear of any of the radicals disrupting the service were arrested. Last year radicals managed to pressure local governments across Indonesia to shut down as many as 50 Christian churches using a highly controversial building permit law as justification. Although the closing of churches be local governments in Indonesia dropped considerably after the first few months of this year, radical groups continue to try to intimidate Christians into abandoning their property and relocating their churches.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
“Ms. Rusgiani’s sentencing is a perfect example of a justice system being used to hypocritically and blatantly discriminate against a member of a minority faith. Last year in other parts of Indonesia Islamic radicals shouted insults and hurled bags of urine, rocks, and dirt into crowds of Christians without any fear of arrest, yet Ms. Rusgiani’s single critical comment is enough to result in a 420 day prison sentence? The double standard being applied here is staggering. This sends a message to the world that Indonesia’s legal system is not about protecting religious plurality, as the government would claim, but defending the petty grievances of whichever faith happens to hold the majority, and therefore the most influence, in any given area. Religious intolerance has been growing at an alarming pace across Indonesia, and targeting minority Christians expressing their opinion is not the solution to curbing this growth.”
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
For more than two months the Islamic Defenders Front, a radical Islamic political organization, has been attempting to force the city government of Jakarta to remove a recently elected woman, and Christian, from office. The group is claiming that a Christian in leadership over a highly Muslim area is offensive and has staged multiple protests. To his credit, the Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo, has stood behind the appointment and Indonesia's constitutional protection for religious freedom, refusing to remove the "ward chief" based on her religious beliefs.
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
In a unusual and highly encouraging show of support, the Jakarta city government in Indonesia has rallied to support a church in the Eastern part of the city facing possible protests by Islamic radicals. In the past, churches around Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia have faced severe pressure and sometimes violent protests after which the local government, caving to demands by radical groups, has sealed the church buildings shut. In 2012 ICC believes as many as 50 churches were forcibly shut down by local governments under pressure from radical Islamic groups. The number of closed churches in 2013 appears to have lessened considerably.
Friday, October 4th, 2013
Although conditions for Christians in Indonesia are mostly peaceful, some areas have become increasingly hostile towards the Christian minority in recent years. In the province of Aceh, and the city of Bekasi, both hotbeds for Islamic radicalism, churches have been forcibly shut down and Christians forced to relocate at the behest of angry mobs. President Obama is being urged to bring up religious tolerance with Indonesia in his upcoming visit to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit next week.