As estimated 100,000 people turned out to protest Indonesia’s first Chinese Christian governor, who they claimed misused a quote from the Quran in a speech. While the protests went largely without incidence, they reflect a trend of growing Islamic conservatism in the nation with the world’s most Muslims. The Wall Street Journal notes that Islamic schools are expanding and head scarves, once a rare sight, “are now widely worn.” A movement to ban alcohol and an effort to prohibit cohabitation outside of marriage are gathering steam. Last year, several churches were destroyed by a Muslim mob and this year Indonesia endured its first Islamic State linked attack. The article notes that religious organizations that began with a principle of non-violence have quickly turned to violence. For Christians, this means their freedom to practice their faith and their lives are increasingly in danger. Although their rights are protected by the national government, in practice they are often tightly controlled, threatened, and prohibited to practice their faith by communities and the local government.
11/4/2016 Indonesia (The Wall Street Journal) – The biggest street protest in years shook this sprawling capital on Friday in a stark display of the more conservative, militant strain of Islam taking hold in the world’s largest Muslim country.
Police said an estimated 100,000 people turned out for a rally called by hard-line Muslim groups against the capital’s Christian governor, whom they accuse of having committed blasphemy.
Turnout was lower than some organizers had predicted, after the nation’s largest Muslim organizations this week discouraged their members from attending.
President Joko Widodo had met with other political leaders amid calls for calm, but critics say he has been too slow since taking office in 2014 to respond to worsening tension for fear of being labeled anti-Muslim.