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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Indonesia church attacker acted alone, police say

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

The man accused of injuring four people in an attack on an Indonesian church on Sunday morning (11 February) acted alone and obtained the weapon – a one-metre-long sword – in exchange for his mobile phone, police say. The suspect, a 23-year-old student identified as Suliyono from Bayuwangi in East […]

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Indonesia: Catholics forced to stop aid work after accusations of converting Muslims

Indonesia: Catholics forced to stop aid work after accusations of converting Muslims

Catholics from a church in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta have been accused of proselytism while distributing aid packages to the local mostly Muslim community, Catholic news agency UCAN reports. The packages, containing basic necessities and healthcare, were delivered to locals as part of a programme to celebrate the elevation […]

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Indonesia’s president tells Catholic students to work for ‘harmony’

Catholic students meet in Palmbang, Sumatra, this week. (Photo: Matters India)

Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, opened the 30th Catholic students congress in Palembang, on the island of Sumatra, this week by telling them to work together for “peace” and “harmony”. The president told the 3,800 participants that the “Pancasila”, the five principles that make up the state philosophy of the Indonesian […]

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Indonesia sees reduction in religious freedom violations

In 2010, Bogor’s GKI Yasmin church was sealed and padlocked by order of the mayor and city government. They still hold Sunday services outside the church, and stage monthly services outside Indonesia’s Presidential Palace.. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Indonesia saw fewer violations of religious freedom in 2017 than the year before, a national human rights group said this week, although it said it remained concerned about “the politicisation of religious and social differences”. In its ‘2017 Report on Religious Freedom and Religious Minorities in Indonesia’, the Setara Institute […]

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Indonesia church leader charged with blasphemy

Inside a church in Indonesia. Catholic and Protestant bishops have expressed concern about erosion of the national values. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

An Indonesian church leader has been charged with blasphemy – the first case of its kind in the country – and could face five years in prison. Rev. Abraham Ben Moses, 52, was arrested and detained last week in his home town of Tangerang, Java, 25 km west of the capital, […]

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