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4/4/2024 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – With nearly 242 million Muslim residents, Indonesia boasts the largest Muslim population in the world. And although the country espouses freedom of religion, it also tightly restricts those freedoms among religious minorities as it promotes Islam. 

The Pew Research Center addressed some of these restrictions and shared new statistics highlighting Indonesia’s religious pluralism in a new report released on the heels of Indonesian President Prabowo Subianto’s recent re-election. The statistics are based on data from the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs.

One example is found in the preamble to its constitution, which includes its state philosophy of Pancasila. The philosophy highlights the five principles of Indonesian statehood, and the first principle is “a belief in the One and Only God,” alluding to Islam. 

Additionally, there have been frequent reports in recent years of Christian churches being shuttered or demolished, and cases where the Indonesian Supreme Court affirmed a 1974 precedent banning interfaith marriages. The use of anti-blasphemy laws against members of minority religions is also on the rise. 

In December 2023, International Christian Concern staff visited one such prisoner, Apollinaris Darmawan, imprisoned for breaking Indonesia’s anti-blasphemy laws. 

The report also included the following statistics: 

  • About 29 million Christians live in Indonesia, comprising about 11% of the population. 
  • Nearly 15% of Indonesia’s Christians live in the West Papua Islands. 
  • In 2023, about 15% of Indonesia’s political House of Representatives were Christians. 
  • Two-thirds of Indonesia’s 242 million Muslims believe Islamic Sharia Law should be the official law to govern all aspects of Indonesian life and society. 

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