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...]

Churches in Aceh Burned, Others Shut Down

On Friday, October 16, a mob attacked several churches in Aceh Singkil and burned them down. The mob said that the churches did not have the proper permits to exist. Now, authorities in Aceh are shutting down several churches this week. Authorities have contacted church leaders, and at least 6 churches have agreed to tear down their churches after admitting that they don’t have the proper building permits. They did this because members of the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front demanded that … [Read more...]

Forest Fires on Sumatra

On Wednesday, satellite imagery picked up over 600 fire hot spots across Sumatra, with the worst areas being the Jambi, South Sumatra, and Riau provinces. The fires in Jambi are so bad that they have had to close schools. Another big concern in Jambi is that fires are threatening oil pipes that run through the forests there. Half of the fires along the pipelines have been put out, but the other half are still burning. In Riau, helicopters that were water-bombing the fires had to stop because … [Read more...]

No Survivors in Papua Plane Crash

On Sunday, a Trigana Air Service plane crashed into a mountain in Papua. The plane was going from Jayapura to Oksibil. There were 44 adults, 5 children, and 5 crew on-board, and none of them lived. The plane also had $470,000 that was going to help with a village assistance program. The treacherous terrain has made it difficult for those doing recovery efforts. The plane’s black box was found on Tuesday. Hopefully this will help investigators figure out what happened. Read the full story … [Read more...]

Bali Flights Being Cancelled

For the third day in a row, flights have been cancelled going to and from Bali. On July 9, Garuda tweeted that the airports in Bali, Lombok, Jember, and Banyuwangi were being closed due to ash. Mount Ruang has been erupting for several days now. The volcano is near Banyuwangi, East Java. People traveling from western Indonesia have still been able to go to Bali, but the many Australians in Bali are stranded. This is because the route they take is different, and the ash is in their … [Read more...]

Indonesia Celebrates Ramadan in Multiple Ways

The fasting month of Ramadan began this week. Every country has its own unique food and rituals to celebrate. In Indonesia, because there are so many people groups, Ramadan is celebrated differently throughout the country. The Javanese welcome Ramadan with nyadran. In this ritual, friends and family visit the graves of loved ones. They also end Ramadan this way. In Padang, Muslims take a sacred bath in the river the day before Ramadan begins in order to cleanse themselves for the month. In … [Read more...]

Aceh Stretched in Caring for Boat Migrants

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Rohingya and Bangladeshi refugees have flooded into Aceh, Indonesia, as well as Malaysia. Thousands of others are believed to still be out at sea. Those on the ground say conditions are improving, but more assistance is needed as they aren’t just meeting immediate needs, but also trying to get the refugees set up in long-term housing. The burden of caring for the refugees has fallen mainly to the local government, and the head of the Social Department there … [Read more...]

Convicts Praised God Until They Were Executed

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 12:35 a.m., eight men were executed in Indonesia for drug trafficking. Indonesia has received worldwide criticism for these convictions, as all but one of the men were foreigners whose countries requested clemency, and Indonesia refused. The relationship between Australia and Indonesia is particularly strained. Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has had the Australian ambassador return home. But despite all of the controversy, there is some great … [Read more...]

Asia-Africa Conference Begins in Jakarta on Sunday

Sixty years ago, the historic first Asia-Africa Conference took place in Bandung, Indonesia. On this sixtieth anniversary, Indonesia invited 109 world leaders to the conference. As of April 16, 77 countries have representatives coming to the Asia-Africa Conference. There are also 34 heads of states attending the anniversary. The conference itself is taking place from April 19 – April 24. There will also be an Asia-Africa Business Summit on April 21 and 22, with close to 500 people attending. … [Read more...]