Indonesian Christians’ Plight Escalates

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Not surprisingly, then, the government’s failure to sufficiently clamp down on Islamist fervor has only served to embolden the Islamists to launch more frequent acts of violence and intimidation. According to the Setara Institute, which monitors religious freedom, attacks on religious minorities have increased from 135 in 2007; 216 in 2010; and 244 in 2011.

Those deeds were most recently on display when the FPI and its chairman, Habib Rizieq, strong-armed Indonesian authorities into denying a permit for a scheduled concert in Jakarta by pop star Lady Gaga by issuing warnings they would break up the concert if police failed to do so.

Those threats proved forceful enough for Lady Gaga to cancel the concert, a decision that prompted FPI spokesman Salim Alatas to claim, “This is a victory for Indonesian Muslims. Thanks to God for protecting us from this devil.”

That FPI victory had been preceded a week earlier by violent protests launched by the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council (MMI) to shut down several promotional book events in Yogyakarta Java held by lesbian Canadian Muslim writer Irshad Manji, author of Allah, Liberty and Love and The Trouble with Islam Today.

Those protests, in which one of her staff members was struck by an iron bar wielded by an MMI member, led Manji to note, “Four years ago I held a book launch here that attracted both ultraconservative Muslims and Muslim transsexuals, and each of them had their say… four years later, the center of Islamic pluralism has become just another cesspool of intimidation.”

Unfortunately, that expanding sewer of Islamic intolerance extends well beyond Indonesia’s 36 million Christians, finding its way to smaller spiritual movements, such as the Baha’is, as well as to minority Muslim sects, such as Sufis, Shiites and Ahmadiya.

Those latter Muslim sects are considered by Sunnis, who constitute ninety percent of Indonesia’s 186 million Muslims, as nearly heretical, with the Ahmadiyya, in particular, having borne the largest brunt of religious persecution.

Their ill-treatment was codified in a 2008 government decree that requires the Ahmadiyah sect to “stop spreading interpretations and activities that deviate from the principal teachings of Islam,” which has been used to forcibly shut down more than 30 Ahmadiyah mosques.

In fact, the onslaught against the Ahmadiyah has taken on an increasingly violent face, most glaringly displayed in February 2011, when a mob of 1,500 Muslims armed with machetes and stones attacked an Ahmadiyah community in western Java, killing three 21 Ahmadis. Adding further insult to that tragic event was that the Muslim attackers who were prosecuted served no more than six months in prison.

Even those with no religious affiliations can be swept up in the Muslim torrent, as was the case with Alex Aan, a 30-year-old civil servant, who faces up to six years in prison as the first atheist in Indonesia charged with “blasphemy, disseminating hatred and spreading atheism” through his Facebook page.

Yet, despite it all, there are many who dismiss the rise of persecution against religious minorities as being the work of a relatively small number of Islamist zealots and not a true indicator of the feelings of the majority of Muslims in Indonesia.

In fact, some Muslims argue that religious minorities may actually be bringing this assault upon themselves. That view was best expressed after the attack in Bekasi when one Muslim resident of the city explained, “The Christians should have asked us, ‘Can we worship and build a church here?’…But if in fact the people are not willing and reject the request, then why must they insist?”

Unfortunately as events continue to dictate, insistence on following one’s religious beliefs isn’t a right reserved for Christians or, for that matter, any of Indonesia’s other religious minorities.

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  • Chezwick

    Indonesia is – in this respect – a microcosm of the entire Muslim world. Religious minorities are under siege in all four corners of Darul Islam. It's truly ugly everywhere one looks….and it's just getting worse. We're watching the Islamic world finally cast off the last vestiges of the secular hangover they inherited from their colonial masters.

    Muslims are re-discovering their religious identity, not just in theory but in practice….and as the theological particulars of Islam become openly manifest, non-Muslims are suffering the transition from decades of quasi-dhimmitude to the full-blown version (Sharia). It is a tragedy for these people…and it is our moral obligation to give refuge to all the Christians, Jews, Bahais and others fleeing religious persecution in the Muslim world. They will become an invaluable resource in the war for civilization, using their first-hand experience with Islamic intolerance to help educate hapless Westerners who continue to be blinded by the multicultural fog.

    • WTG

      Very well said!

  • ross1948

    You could have mentioned the Catholic Grotto Cave near Jogjakarta, and the move by the IslamoNazi FPI to form a new storm-troop group in Aceh, to suppress Christian churches they deem illegal.

    When I came to Jakarta 13 years ago, I'd never given much thought to islam, but it's been an eye-opener.
    Hence our expat blog to alert the rest of you.

    That's a good example of what goes on, a leading 'moderate' blaming the Bogor Christians for their own persecution.,

    • Chezwick

      Thanks for the birds-eye view.

  • Gene

    The anti-Judeo-Christian Koran hates, and attempts distruction of, everything that God loves and established. That is why our one-world leaders and many of our administration can co-exist with them, they serve the same 'anti-God'

  • Bamaguje

    And Indonesia is supposed to be a "moderate" Muslim country.

  • Looking4Sanity

    One can not help but pity these poor Islamist cretins. One day very soon, God is going to pour out the full cup of His Wrath directly on their collective head and then pass Final Judgement upon each of them. On that day there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

  • AntiSharia

    The problem in Indonesia isn't the same problem as say Iran. In the latter persecution is directed by the state. Indonesia's government doesn't order persecution. It just doesn't have the ability to stop it. The parliament, the courts, and the President can issue all the rulings and laws they want. It won't work. Islamists don't recognize the government in Jakarta as being legitimate as it is not governed wholly by Sharia law. The government is too weak, and naive, to take out these terrorists. Who do they think they will turn their rage to next once they've dealt with the Christians and the Hindus?

  • H&R_ Barack

    Islam is not a "religion of peace" despite desperate insistence by President Barack HOODIE Obama (D).

    Muslims, by belief and practice, are the most blatant violators of human rights.

    ~ Whirrled Peas, KFC and Couscous?

  • RUI

    "America and Indonesia share the same values".
    What was that, "mr" President?

  • Stuart Parsons

    Does not the dear old Glorious and Most Holy Quran say 'Muslims are hard against non-Muslims and compassionate to each other.' 48:29. Don't blame the Muslims, blame Allah and his Prophet and Messenger.

  • Linda Rivera

    Chezwick, it is very sad to say that America and other Western nations ignore the terrible suffering of Christians, Hindus and other severely persecuted non-Muslims and instead are importing massive numbers of Muslims who bring their supremacist, totalitarian political-religious beliefs with them into our countries. God help the Christians!

    • Chezwick

      Amen, Linda.


      The US is not as sick as the United Kingdom.

      Socialism and its puppet Islamism have just about destroyed the UK.

      For example Islamofascists cursed and spit on returning British troops in Luton.

      When pro-British demonstrators began to mass to oppose the Islamofascists, British police arrrested the COUNTER protesters.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Cursade against Islamists seems to be in order in Indonesia and anywhere Islamist terrorism
    shows itself. Does it not occur to the Christians or say non-Islamists that they must defend
    themselves and their families, self defence is what is in order here. The Indonesian military
    has been murdering innocet villagers for years but no outcry from the UN or American
    State Dept………..a world wide purge of Islam is going to be the end result when Islam pushes
    up against people that will not take their crap. The World descends into vile murder and mayhem
    and so called civilized Nations sit back and help the killers by action and inaction………..William

  • Ronald Johnston

    Islam is not a religion!!! It is an ideology!!!! Starting with mohammad, they are just bloodthirsty barbarians bent on killing anybody who doesn't follow their ideology!!! The silence from the so-called good muslims is deafening!!!!

  • angel

    for my two year stay in bandung, it seems completely hopeless for the government don’t have sharp fangs to eradicate such violence made by their fellow muslims.. please pray for non-muslims in indonesia.