Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
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.
Sunday, January 12th, 2014
Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali made outlandish statements late last week claiming. among other things, that "Indonesia...is the best country in the world in terms of religious tolerance." Human rights groups correctly criticized the remarks, pointing out that Indonesia experienced hundreds of incidents of violence last year directed at religious minorities. For Christians belonging to the GKI Yasmin or HKBP Filadelfia churches, the claims ring especially hollow. Their churches, among dozens of others, were shut down after protests by radical Islamists pressured local governments into sealing off their church buildings.
Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Recent comments by President Yudhoyono of Indonesia saying it is the responsibility of faith leaders to promote religious tolerance has drawn criticism from Christian pastors and others who say the president has largely avoided dealing with rising intolerance in the country. In 2012, ICC recorded at least 50 churches that were shut down by local governments under pressure from radical Islamic groups. The federal government has avoided becoming involved in the church closures, despite rulings by the Indonesian Supreme Court in at least two cases ordered the churches to be reopened.
Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
In recent years Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim majority country, has seen a marked increase in radicalized activity. One result has been the forced closure of dozens of small, and some not so small, churches across the nation. This article takes an in-depth look at two cases and the effects of forced church closure on Christian congregations. ICC is actively involved advocating on behalf of Christian churches in Indonesia facing closure.
Saturday, December 28th, 2013
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made comments at a recent Christmas celebration urging Indonesians to reject "extreme and radical behavior" and to take responsibility for promoting religious tolerance in the country. Unfortunately the president has taken practically no steps to reduce or correct serious ongoing incidents of religious discrimination, including the cases of the GKY Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia churches, both shut down by radical groups and local governments despite Supreme Court rulings in their favor. In fact religious intolerance across Indonesia has risen steadily for the past several years, with members of the Ahmadiyya Muslims community especially facing severe violence at the hands of the Sunni majority.
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.
Saturday, December 14th, 2013
Despite being recognized internationally as an example of a tolerant Muslim majority Democracy, anti-religious hostility continues to plague Indonesia. Last week ICC learned that at least two churches had been forcibly shut down by local governments in recent days under pressure from radical Islamic organizations, with one of the churches located in Sulawesi being torn down by local authorities. Now Indonesian police are warning that terrorist's may be planning bombings around the Christmas holiday, a typically dangerous time for at risk Christian groups in sensitive parts of the world. In 2000, Christmas bombings in Indonesian churches killed 16.
Thursday, December 12th, 2013
Religious groups across the board in Indonesia were disappointed last month when Indonesia's parliament decided to retain the policy of requiring citizens to publicly state their religious affiliation on personal identification cards. Rights groups point out that this makes citizens easy targets for discrimination in a nation where radical Islamic groups have actively persecuted religious minorities for years. The requirement is of particular concern for ICC in areas such as Sulawesi and the Molluccas, where radical Islamic groups waged a quasi-war against Christian villages from 1998-2003. Although official tolls are lower, as many as 10,000 Christians are believed to have been slaughtered during those years. Forcing citizens to identify their faith on ID cards is a recipe for easy persecution.
Friday, December 6th, 2013
“We had been extremely hopeful that this kind of flagrant disregard for the rights of religious minorities was on the decline in Indonesia in 2013, at least as far as the Christian community was concerned. This demolition, however, coming alongside reports that two other churches have recently been sealed, is quickly dashing those hopes. We call on President Yudhoyono to speak out immediately and strongly against what is clearly a discriminatory abuse of the 2006 Revised Joint Ministerial Decree on construction of houses of worship.”
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.”
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Converting to Christianity from a Muslim background is not easy. In some parts 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.
Friday, November 1st, 2013
Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation. While Christians and Muslims have generally coexisted peacefully, an Islamist insurgency in the North has subjected a great many of Nigeria's Christians to persecution. The Pew Research study referenced here indicates that Nigeria may hold the largest number of persecuted Christians on Earth.
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.
Saturday, October 19th, 2013
Muslim opposition to the appointment of a Christian official in local government has drawn attention to the shadow of hostility towards Christians that still hangs over parts of the Islamic nation.
Friday, October 18th, 2013
In yet another attempt to halt the construction of a Catholic church in the city of Bekasi, radical Muslims have sued the mayor of the city for granting the church permission to be built. Bekasi, located just West of the capital of Jakarta, is a hotbed for radical Islamic activity visited by ICC in 2012. Churches in the city have faced sometimes violent mobs of radicals demanding they be closed and that Christians halt attempts to worship outside of their sealed churches, using the pretext of a building permit law from 2006. This attempt to sue the mayor is simply a new avenue for radical groups to try to stop the growth of Christianity in Bekasi.
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.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) has confirmed that two Indonesian Christians were sentenced to three years in prison on August 2nd for conducting evangelistic activities among Muslims. The Christians, known as Kashfi Rosyid and Jalaudin, are brothers and were arrested by police on March 20th in Sukabumi, West Java,after an angry mob of approximately 200 Muslims attacked their home.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
For several weeks Islamists in Jakarta, Indonesia have been protesting the appointment of a Christian woman, Susan Jasmine Zulkifli, over a predominantly Muslim area of the city. Jakarta's governor has defended Susan's appointment, pointing out correctly that the Indonesian constitution protects religious freedom and the right of anyone to hold office regardless of their religious beliefs. New comments by a member of the executive branch, Interior Minister Gamawan Fauzi, saying that Susan should be relocated to another district has plastered the debate on front pages of the Indonesian press. Despite officially supporting religious tolerance, dozens of churches across Indonesia were forcible sealed off by local governments last year under pressure from Islamic radical groups.
Monday, September 30th, 2013
In certain areas of Indonesia intolerance for Christian churches and their congregations remains high. One of those areas is Bekasi, just south of Indonesia's capital of Jakarta. Last year members of the HKBP Filadelfia church faced week after week of screaming mobs throwing everything from dirt to bags of urine at them as they attempted to hold services outside of their church building, which had been sealed by the local government under pressure from radical groups. One local Muslim leader who threw rocks at the congregation also threatened to kill Pastor Palti, the churches pastor. Even though the threat was caught on video and witnessed by many people, seven of whom testified against him, the attacker was given a suspended sentenced and never served any jail time.