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: 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 ‘to guarantee rights of religious minorities’

Wreaths displayed to honor those killed in the suicide bomb attack in the Kampung Melayu bus terminal, East Jakarta on May 24 2017. Indonesia's image of a secular nation is under treat as it faces increased influence of extremist Islamist groups. (Photo: Open Doors International)

Indonesia is drafting a law that will guarantee the rights of religious minorities in the country, according to the head of the country’s Ministry of Religion’s Interfaith Harmony Forum. “The government [currently] only recognises six religions, while more than four million people who follow religions outside of those six are […]

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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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Protests as Indonesia cracks down on ‘groups that threaten state ideology’

An woman in Indonesia's Banda Aceh gets caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for spending time with a man who is not her husband, which is against Sharia law on March 20, 2017. Aceh Province is the only place in the Muslim-majority country which implements the strict version of Sharia Law. In a move to stop the rise of radical Islamist groups, the Indonesian government has adopted a law that will make disbanding such groups easier. (Photo: Getty Images)

In a move that has been severely criticised by civil society organisations, Indonesia on 10 July introduced a new law that allows the government to disband certain groups that threaten the state’s secular ideology. The law comes at a time when Indonesia is facing the increasing influence of hardline Islamist […]

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Indonesia’s social and political fabric stretched as bombs hit Jakarta

Indonesia’s social and political fabric stretched as bombs hit Jakarta

Churches in Jakarta are on high alert after Indonesia’s capital was the target yesterday (24 May) for two suicide bombers. The attacks killed three policemen based at a bus terminal ahead of policing for a pre-Ramadan parade. Yohanes Bao Keraf, head of security at St Joseph’s church, which is a […]

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