Is Indonesia as open and friendly to Christians as some people believe?

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Muslims and Christmas

Indonesian Muslims are generally divided into three groups in this regard. The first are the conservatives who reject it wholeheartedly, the second are the liberals who take the opposite stand, while the third are moderates who differentiate between participating in the celebration and simply wishing Christians a happy celebration.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/focus/2022/12/25/christmas-celebration-in-indonesia

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The new law in Indonesia makes it hostile to all except those who follow that law.

Indonesia passes new criminal code that outlaws sex outside marriage

How far can Indonesia really enforce its new extra-marital sex laws?

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IT has always been an annual occurrence that when Christmas comes, Muslims in Indonesia debate among themselves the permissibility of participating in or even congratulating their Christian fellow countrymen on that festive day.

Indonesian Muslims are generally divided into three groups in this regard. The first are the conservatives who reject it wholeheartedly, the second are the liberals who take the opposite stand, while the third are moderates who differentiate between participating in the celebration and simply wishing Christians a happy celebration. The last group seems more rational and acceptable in an Indonesian context.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/focus/2022/12/25/christmas-celebration-in-indonesia

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Freed from 2 years’ jail for blasphemy: Ahok, Jakarta’s Christian and Chinese ex-Governor

Jakarta’s former governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, best known as “Ahok”, has been released from prison after serving out his controversial two-year sentence for insulting Islam.

The Indonesian politician was controversially jailed in May 2017 after a court found him guilty of blasphemy for a comment he made while campaigning for re-election.

Last year a movie documenting his life, “A Man Called Ahok” was released in Indonesian cinemas, igniting rumours he plans to resume his political career upon his release.

He walked free from the high-security Mako Brimob detention facilityin Depok, West Java, early Thursday morning after receiving more than three months’ in remissions.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/24/ahok-jakartas-former-governor-released-after-jail-term-for-blasphemy

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Excerpts from:

Indonesia-Investments

Christianity in Indonesia

Christians in Modern Indonesia

Although there are a number of regions in Indonesia that contain a clear Christian-majority community (see map above), taken as a whole, Christianity only forms a minority religion in Indonesia. As such, Christians – thus – have a rather weak political and social position in the country, with the exception of those few regions with a Christian majority (in these regions Muslims sometimes actually have to face discriminatory actions). This general weak position makes most Indonesian Christians conscious of their minority-position and thus eager to maintain good relations with the Muslim community. Nonetheless, with regard to the Indonesian nation, Christians have just as genuine nationalist pride as the majority of Indonesian Muslims and are highly supportive of maintaining the unified Indonesian state.

In recent decades there have been many known cases of radical Muslims attacking churches and Christians, thereby instilling fear into Indonesia’s Christian community. These incidents mainly occur on the island of Java where Christians form the minority. Sadly, this situation is likely to continue. However, these attacks should be explained as acts of fear and frustration on behalf of the perpetrators as Indonesia has experienced a process of (perceived) ‘Christianization’ after Independence. And – in fact – the roots of the problem go deeper in history as a relatively large Christian elite (equipped with better education and economic means) was nurtured by the Dutch during the colonial days. After Indonesia reached Independence, the Christian elite kept constituting an influential force in the country’s politics (including the army) and economy during both Soekarno’s and (the first half of) Suharto’s reign. The main reason for this paradoxical situation was that Christians – being a minority only – did not form a major threat to society. The 1950s and 1960s witnessed the struggles for power between the nationalists, communists and Islamicists, while after Suharto came to power in 1966 (and the communists eliminated), it still took great effort for the government to successfully curb the role of Islam within Indonesian society. In these chaotic and distrustful decades, Christians were regarded as ally’s, having no hidden agenda, against the opposing forces in society. This situation changed in the late 1980s and 1990s when not only the stricter segments of Islam rejected the government but also the moderate Islamic streams began to criticize the government and started demanding democracy. To gain more popular support, Suharto (a nominal Muslim) decided to implement more pro-Muslim policies, which included more Muslims in top government positions (including the army). This implied a declining influence of Christians on national politics.

In Indonesian society, most Muslim and Christian communities live in social harmony. Between 1997 and 2004 (around and after the fall of Suharto) a number of regions in Indonesia saw horrifying incidences of violence that were labelled as ‘religious conflicts‘. However, it is wrong to regard these conflicts as being religious only. The fall of Suharto’s New Order had opened up fierce competition for political, economic and social power within the regions; and also among groups sharing the same religion. In combination with a disorganized and weak central government (including the national army) due to the Asian Crisis, these conflicts were able to intensify and linger on. There are also reports that claim the Indonesian army actually stimulated the continuation of these conflicts in order to create chaos in the country as that would give them more political power.

https://www.indonesia-investments.com/culture/religion/christianity/item249

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