Indonesia Recognizes Native Religions

In a landmark ruling made in early November, Indonesian's Constitutional Court allowed for Indonesians to register as penhayat kepercayaan, or native-faith adherents for the first time. All Indonesians are required to register as followers of one of the official religions. This registration appears on their identity cards. The six official religions at this point have been Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism. In the past, citizens also had the option of … [Read more...]

Survey Reveals an Increase in Intolerance Among Indonesian Students

Benar News reported that a survey released on October 30, 2017 showed about a fourth of Indonesia’s college students support fighting for the implementation of an Islamic caliphate system in Indonesia.  Jakarta-based Alvara Research Center and Mata Air Foundation polled 1,800 students from 25 leading universities in Indonesia plus 2,400 high school students from across Indonesia to determine if early detection of radicalism among campus populations could predict Indonesia’s future. The … [Read more...]

New Bill Aims To Recognize Other Faiths

Indonesia officially recognizes six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The government is now realizing that this rule actually contradicts freedom of religion, rather than encouraging it. They realize many Indonesians practice traditional religions, and are not being recognized. The Religious Affairs Ministry is now working to officially recognize the country’s indigenous religions through a bill on the protection of religious followers, which … [Read more...]

177 Indonesians Detained for Posing as Filipinos

A group of Indonesians were trying to go on hajj, but were detained in Manila because they had forged Philippine passports. Vice President Jusuf Kalla says the travel agency should take responsibility, and that the Indonesians are victims, not suspects. It is believed that they were going on Filipino passports because Saudi Arabia gives every country a hajj quota, and the current Indonesian quota is much smaller than the people who want to go. The current waiting list is 20 years, costing … [Read more...]

Several Indonesian Languages are on the Brink of Extinction

Dadang Sunendar, the head of language development for the Culture and Education Ministry recently stated that 139 local Indonesian languages are on the brink of extinction. With 707 languages, Indonesia has the second largest number of languages in the world. Only Papua New Guinea has more, with 839. There are several factors that cause a language to decline, including war, major natural disasters, mixed marriages, and geographical conditions. A language is considered “alive” as long as there is … [Read more...]

10 Years Since Mud Volcano Began Spewing

It has been almost 10 years since a mud volcano in Sidoarjo began spewing. Since then, the mud has covered an area equal to 650 football fields, completely burying several villages and displacing thousands of people. Thirteen people died when an underground gas pipeline exploded as a result of the spewing mud. Many of those people lost jobs and now are trying to make a meager living through “disaster tourism”, guiding people through the volcano area. To this day, the volcano has not stopped. … [Read more...]

Christian Woman Caned Under Shariah Law in Aceh

For the first time ever, a non-Muslim woman has been caned under Shariah law in Indonesia. Remita Sinaga was found guilty of selling alcohol, which is illegal in Aceh. Mrs. Sinaga is a Christian and is 60 years old. She received 28 lashes after spending 47 days in jail. Several people have spoken out against this. One of the pastors at Mrs. Sinaga’s church said, “We don’t defend her [breaking the law]. [But] our concern is that the law isn’t in line with the national penal code. … Shariah law … [Read more...]

Multiple Blasts in Jakarta

On Thursday, January 14, at 10:50 a.m., a bomb went off near Sarinah Shopping Center. Over the next few minutes, more bombs went off, including one in a Starbucks. In the hours that followed, police engaged in gunfire with the terrorists. It wasn’t long before ISIS confirmed that they carried out this attack, stating, “In a unique security operation, a group of Islamic State soldiers targeted a group of Crusader citizens who are fighting the Islamic State in Jakarta,” the statement said. “May … [Read more...]

Female-only Motorcycle Taxis Becoming Popular in Indonesia

Motorcycle taxis, or “ojeks”, are a popular form of public transportation in Indonesia. Ojeks are typically men, which has caused problems for a couple of reasons. For one thing, conservative Muslim women will not ride a motorbike with a man unless he is a relative because they believe that Islam forbids this. The other reason is safety. There have been reports of attacks on women by ojeks. As a result, several female only motorbike taxis, inspired by Uber, have begun. Ojek Syari, or “Ojesy” … [Read more...]

Leaving Islam

Adit grew up in a home with a Muslim father and a Catholic mother in Indonesia. His Catholic grandparents often babysat him when he was little, and they told him stories about Jesus, which he liked. But his father hired a Quran tutor so she could learn how to recite the Quran. And in fourth grade, Adit’s tutor told him only Muslims can enter paradise. That was the beginning of his journey to becoming atheist. In his second year of university, he stopped practicing Islam. He stopped praying, … [Read more...]