Indonesia was once known for its moderate and diverse Islam, but extremism is on the rise. Anger over the perceived “blasphemy” of former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (better known as “Ahok”), a Chinese Christian, brought more than 200,000 people to the streets in 2016 and eventually led to his imprisonment. In August 2017 the government announced plans to further tighten blasphemy legislation, though a month earlier it ordered the disbandment of Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir “to protect Indonesia’s unity”.

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‘Mutual respect’ needed to combat radicalisation in Indonesia

Altar of the Stasi Kinali Catholic Church, West-Sumatra, Indonesia, which was attacked in May 2014. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Religious leaders should be more involved in creating an inclusive and pluralistic Indonesia and “leave the ‘comfort zone’” of their community, Catholic bishops were told at a conference this week. What the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation needs from its religious leaders now “is greater commitment to get involved more […]

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Indonesia High Court in ‘milestone’ ruling for religious freedom

Young men joining the protest march against Jakarta's former Governor Ahok in December 2016. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

In a “milestone” ruling, Indonesia’s High Court on Tuesday (7 November) said all religious groups should be treated equally before the law in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, and that failing to do so would be “unconstitutional”. A law adopted in 2013 requires Indonesian citizens to declare their religious […]

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Indonesia: ‘zero flexibility’ for adoptions by religious minorities

Indonesia: ‘zero flexibility’ for adoptions by religious minorities

Religious minorities in Indonesia are discriminated against when they want to adopt, according to Human Rights Watch’s report, which highlights the case of a Christian policewoman from North Sumatra. Ida Maharani Hutagaol, took a month-old boy, found abandoned in a ditch in Binjal, to hospital and ensured he was well cared for. In […]

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Indonesia: Jakarta’s new governor urged to protect rights of religious minorities

New Governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan and his running mate, the new Vice Governor of Jakarta, Sandiaga Salahudin Uno arrived at Jakarta City Hal for the inauguration ceremony on 16 October 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)

As Jakarta’s new governor, Anies Baswedan, starts his new job, he should use his role “to protect and promote human rights in the Indonesian capital”, writes Human Rights Watch in a letter addressed to him. The rights group urges him to ”use the powers at your disposal to defend the […]

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Indonesia: Christians cancel event Muslims say would have been ‘arena of apostasy’

Gelora Joko Samudro

Indonesian Christians planning to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Protestant Christianity were forced to abandon a stadium event following threats from Muslim hardliners. “For the sake of interreligious harmony … and to avoid acts of intolerance, the committee decided to call off the national prayer service to mark 500 years […]

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Indonesia: ‘Saudi influence behind rise in Islamic extremism’, as churches continue to be closed

Thousands of Muslims from across Indonesia joined the Islamic-hardliners in Jakarta to protest against Jakarta’s (former) Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama ('Ahok') on 4 November 2016 for allegedly insulting Islam when citing a Quranic verse. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

“The election and trial of Jakarta’s former governor ‘Ahok’ have exposed increasing radicalization in Indonesia, especially among the young … and it has led to a more aggressive campaign to confront Islamist radicalism,” writes Paul Marshall. In his article for the Lausanne Movement, the Wilson Professor of Religious Freedom at […]

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Indonesia: religious minorities ‘fearful’ of growing intolerance, says report

The sentencing of Jakarta's Christian Governor to prison on blasphemy charges, focuses the spotlight again on Indonesia's controversial Blasphemy Law.

A new report into religious freedom in Indonesia finds religious minorities are fearful that their country’s reputation as a “tolerant Muslim-majority nation” is being undermined by radical Islam’s growing influence on politics and society. The report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) highlights the case of Jakarta’s Christian former governor, Basuki […]

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Indonesia bans Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir

Indonesian Muslims wave Hizb ut-Tahrir’s flag during an anti-government rally in Jakarta on July 18, 2017, to protest against a Presidential Decree that allows the government to ban groups that oppose the country's official state ideology. On Wednesday the government ordered the disbandment of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Indonesian government has ordered the disbandment of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir “to protect Indonesia’s unity”, according to Freddy Hari, director-general of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, as Al Jazeera reports. The decision follows a controversial presidential decree announced nine days earlier that gives the government more power […]

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