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 leader charged with blasphemy

Inside a church in Indonesia. Villagers in Central Java requested the top of a burial cross to be cut before a Catholic was to be buried in what is a public cemetery but is regarded by Muslim groups as 'their' graveyard. (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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‘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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