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Christian inroads worry top Indonesia Muslim body JAKARTA - Christians are making worrying inroads in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, delegates said at a meeting of the nation's top Islamic clerical group, the Jakarta Post newspaper said on Thursday. It said the clerics told the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI), during the meeting in Jakarta that Christians were expanding their presence in the provinces, and in the capital itself.

The MUI is responsible for Muslim doctrine in the country. About 85 percent of the 220 million people in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous nation, are Muslim. But in some eastern parts, Christian and Muslim populations are about equal in size. The state is officially secular and recognises Christianity and several other religions in addition to Islam, although some complain policy and practice tend to favour the latter.

The Jakarta Post said the delegation from Jambi province reported Christian preachers were active in the province on central Sumatra island and converting Muslims at an alarming rate, despite a ban on proselytisation in the country. "The phenomenon of the construction of churches in the province is most disturbing," the newspaper quoted a Jambi delegation report as saying.

In Jakarta, the percentage of Muslims "has declined from 90 percent to 87 percent ... because of the large influx of migrants from non-Muslim areas," according to a report by delegates from the capital. The delegation from Bangka-Belitung, islands off the east coast of Sumatra, said it didn't have enough funds to counter conversions, and the recent election of a non-Muslim as regent would make things even harder.

"We don't understand how a non-Muslim won the election, since Muslims account for 90 percent of the regency's population," the newspaper quoted the delegation's report as saying. "We will make sure it won't happen next time," it added. However, the delegation from Banten in eastern Java said there was not a single church in Cilegon, a regency in the area, and it intended to keep it that way.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono spoke to the group of leading Islamic clerics earlier in the week and told them Muslims have been mistreated and improperly linked to terrorism. Most Indonesian Muslims are considered moderate but there is an increasing hardline minority who advocate violence against Western targets.

There have been a series of attacks blamed on Islamic militants in recent years, including the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Thousands of Indonesians were killed in violence between Christians and Muslims, mostly in the eastern part of the country, in the years following the 1998 downfall of the autocratic Suharto regime.

Posted in Religion @ 28 July 2005 11:46 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

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Very interesting. I believe the oppossite that is happening here.


User icon of Agung
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From the perspective of Bali this seems to be total nonsense!
For years the number of Muslims in Bali is on the rise. This mostly effects west & north Bali and the Bedugul area. And of course, where muslim come tourists go...and crime goes up. So, all Balinese are very sad about this, but scared to say something about it.

Emoticon: Yawn

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Dear Agung,

I read in Kompas that MUI refused pluralism and such....I don't know what is in their mind. Even some true believers from many religion (including Islam) protested the movement. I don't know where Indonesia will go if the Indonesian people don't say NO to their somewhat weird notions.



User icon of sidia
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Johny :
that is the reason why Indonesia( and the Indonesian) need Panca Sila.
Without Panca Sila there will be chaos.
That is also the reason the revival of Islam , because at some place there are situation like Sodom and Gommora .

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dear Sidia,

In this case I don't know very sure what the relationship with Pancasila. But I do believe that in this case, the revival is out of control. Like the cases of FPI and such, that's way too much. I believe any religion is good, if being used to change own-self, but very bad when one tries to force other people to do what he/she likes based on his/her religion. And this world is not heaven. Goodness and evil mixed in this old world. And religions should show which one is good and which one is not, but not with force. Even God gives men the freedom to choose. But some men with the mask of religion act as if they were gods. That's my opinion.



Tuti & Jan
User icon of Tuti & Jan
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(Edited) Posted @ 03 August 2005 11:10

So, all Balinese are very sad about this, but scared to say something about it.

Sorry Agung,
For the Balinese it is very easy to give the muslimimmigrants from Java and other province for everything the fault.
In my opinion the Balinese are realy not scared to say some things about the Javanees and other immigrants.
In this moment there are many tourist in Bali,nobody complains and the Balinese can be very happy to have the Javanees people to do the (dirty) jobs.
Two months ago still the bloody Muslim Javanees with the terribly bomb in Kuta was the reason for the regression of tourist.
For me it is very clear that the Balinese have to do something to keep the tourist.
The Balinese still not like to listening to the tourist, they know everything better.
I'm very afraid the Balinese are making the same mistake as the Costa's in Spain and other country's in Asia are laughing.
For me it seems sometimes that I live in the country Bali and not Indonesia.

User icon of Agung
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"For me it seems sometimes that I live in the country Bali and not Indonesia."

Isn't that the basic problem of Indonesia? I mean Indonesia isn't really a country like most other countries, it is like a continent that consists of many small and bigger "countries", but it it supposed to function like one country. Finding the way that respects all these different parts, while still keeping them together is the real challenge for the government.

We should keep firm to the principle of Pancasila! If we loose this it will not be long before Indonesia falls apart.

In my view Indonesia should become a federal state allowing the different parts to govern themselves to some extend, while still having the benefit of a central government. The way the Aceh issue is handled currently, gives an idea to which direction Indonesia moving, which is in the good direction, I think. (Although, obviously I'm not so happy with what the Aceh people seem to want for themselve.)

joy jade
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dear joy,

The tolerancy is only a jargon here and Pancasila - Well, I learned PMP until SMA just to see how different our actions with what is taught there. The proud of being large in quantity is that the large group can silence the smaller group forcefully and more easily.



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Why is Malaysia and Brunei (a moslem country, based on moslem rules) more succesful and developed than Indonesia (not a moslem country, based on Pancasila)?

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Dear Orchidart,

It should be seen on each of the character of each country, because if compared, Singapore (not based on any religion's rule) is much more successful with only very little natural resources. We have problem because we can't accept diversity, we tend to look for 'scapegoat' everytime we have trouble and we tend to look for "ratu adil" to make a hocus pocus to make Indonesia suddenly get better.
So it's not about the religion based or not based, but it's because of the character of people, that we need to build (baca: SDM).



User icon of sidia
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Dear friends :

Johny :
I think we have the same source about Panca Sila (I have also my SMA time in Jakarta ) but maybe another interpretation ?
Gw anak jakarta (now lost in amsterdam)
Panca Sila
1.Belief in One Supreme God
3.Nationalism (unity of Indonesia)
4.Consultative democracy
5.Social justice
The Panca Sila promotion of monotheisme ias a religiously neutral and tolerant statement that equates Islam with the other religious systems like Christianity, Budhism, Hindu Bali.

We must back to our basic , otherwise ..................?

Orchidart :
You cannot compare Brunei , even Malaysia with Indonesia.
Their size , their people are not so big and complicated as Indonesia.
Brunai : maybe some ethnic groups with a lot of oil.
Malaysia : maybe 3 ethnicsgroup , melayu , chinese and Indians background.

User icon of sidia
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Johny :
abt Singapura
Is one island(state island ?) with less inh. than the big durian(jakarta), with almost homogene people (chinees), and they have some xtras from the past(strategic= like hongkong) and don't forget their famous leader (uncle Lew ? ) , a strong man ( read "dictator ").

User icon of krukcor
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Back to the topic we started with. Problem in Indonesia is that there is no freedom of religion. You are forced to have a religion and than you can only choose between 5 accepted religions. This is intolerance to every one who has an other religion or no religion at all. Why can't Indonesia simply not accept that there are people who don't (want to) have a religion.
The point is that the ulama's are against this (including this intolerant and ultr-conservative MUI) because they know that they will loose power cause probably it will seem that many more people are adhering an other religion than is supposed by the statistiscs. Definitely on Jawa where probably half of the population isn't real moslim but more or less adhering a syncretic form of all kind religions including islam, hinduism, Javaism (abangan, kejawen) and that would reduce the power of some power-mad religious scholars.
It's quite primitive to not accept the fact that in 2005 there are a lot of people who are not religious. For example: if you want to marry in Indonesia you need to have a religion. What kind of stone-age regulation is that not to give people the opportunity to marry in the way they want: from one religion, from mixed religion or from no religion at all.
Talking about intolerance of faith, a very hot topic nowadays in Indonesia.

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Dear Krukcor,

I think you have some point in saying that. I believe religion cannot be forced upon and everyone has a right to 'kemerdekaan beragama', as stated in UUD of Indonesia as well (Art 29?)

Dear Sidia,

I agree that theoretically Pancasila is good, but then again....if you read the PMP book and compare it with what happen in Indonesia...then you will know that Pancasila is mere theory. Something you need to pass at school (with at least 6 out of 10). For example, I remember a statement : 'Ciri khas bangsa Indonesia adalah Ramah Tamah dan Toleransi'. Hmm, is it the ideal character, but not real character.
If we can build the SDM of Indonesia to be more open, more humanist, more responsible, I think Indonesia will be better.



User icon of Agung
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Dear Krukcor,
I agree with you that Indonesia should allow people to have any or no religion. Forcing people to follow a religion is not of this time anymore.

Then why other countries seem to be more succesful.
=> Brunei: with that much oil we can all do it, right!
=> Malaysia: Different back ground, more natural resources, better education of the population
=> Singapore: Since a long time the gateway to SE Asia. All major companies want to have their office there since it's right in the middle of SE Asia, offers political stability and things work more or less in the way western people expect it to work.


User icon of londoh
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On 04-08-2005 15:56 Agung wrote:
=> Malaysia: Different back ground, more natural resources,

What do you mean by background ?

More natural recources than Indonesia ? You must be kidding.


User icon of Agung
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Dear Londoh,
Malaysia was an English colony. This gave people there an advantage in knowledge of the English language. Of course good for doing business abroad. Emoticon: Smile

The problem in Indonesia is not that we have so little, but that we have to share it with over 200.000.000 people and unfortunately the resources are also not used in the best way. Emoticon: Nooo In Malaysia much less people live. About 10 times less, I think. That makes a difference.

User icon of the_gee
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no the difference is corruption which is less in mayasia than in indoneisa which is in the top ten of most corrupt countries in the world. But that is another topic maybe

User icon of krukcor
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Talking about the difference between Malaysia and Indonesia, another often discussed topic.
A lot of Indonesians blame their backlog with Malaysia on the way the former colonists colonized the countries. And according to a lot of Indonesians it's because the British did a better thing then the Dutch. Well, it's always easy to blame somebody else instead of looking at your own failures.
The difference is probably the structure of the population and their attitude: Singapore 90% Chinese, Malaysia 33% Chinese and about 15% Indians, Indonesia only between 3 and 5% Chinese (and still often discriminated).
What's the difference? Well, a good thing is recently said by the Indonesian president: when a Chinese borrows money, he is going to invest it in something; when a pribumi is borrowing money, he spends it for buying a new car or house. Don't envy the Chinese when you are only thinking about materialism as a form to increase your status.
Please, don't always blame somebody else for your own failures.
The other thing is the frustration about foreigners living and working in Indonesia. According to the government there are too many foreigners living in the country and taking the jobs Indonesians could do. TOO MANY foreigners???? According to the government 150.000 expats who are working in Indonesia (probably only 50.000). That's 0,065% of the population. Singapore has 300.000 foreigners in its country (10%) and is grateful for the profits they are bringing in. Same counts for Malaysia.
Sorry but try to explain to me why Indonesians are so afraid for, xenofobic and hostile to foreigners who are only benefiting the economy of the country.

User icon of sidia
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Dear Mister Krukcor ,

About borowing money and spending it is a free choise.
But an indonesian can learn from other hardworking people including the chinese.
They work 48 hour hours per day and 10 days per day .
I think you are Dutch or you have been live among thems for many years in den East .
Because you know so much about the people there.
You have 3 point abt the indonesian .
1. they are afraid for foreigners (do you the "bule" ? ).
2.hostality against the foreigners ?
3 Xenos something

abt pt 1. I think you make a mistake because somewhere in the past in the kampungs people make their little childeren afraid for the "Momok Bule".
I think a variation of the "Red devil " / Red barbarian from china or Japan.
Aeas kalau kamu nakal nanti malam datang Momok Bule.
(If you are still naughty , the Momok Bule will get you to night).

abt 2. They are hostile for the drugdealers , the false tourist , but they are welcoming the genuine tourist.
Otherwise why are the foreigners still cominng ?
abt 3 . The Xenos dat I know is a toko ( like the Hema.
(for the Non Dutch Like Kaufhog/Germany or Sarinah Jakarta).
Mentioning Malaysia or comparing it with Indonesia.
See some info :
Landarea : 330.000 . sqkm
Population : 24 Million.
(malays 50.4 %,Chinese =23,7% *
bumiputra =11%, Indians=7% , others=8%)
Languages : 3 or more , Ethnicgroups= 3 or more.

Indonesia: Landarea= 1919400 sqkm (6x Mal.)
Population : 240 million + (10x Mal.)
(chinese ethnics ? = 3% * )
Ethnicgroups : more than --------, Languages : more than hundreds .
Do you have seen the map of Indonesia ?, an archipelago with thousands of island , 5129 km from west to east and 1760 km fom north to south.
It means many , many problems, social/poltic/economic problems
to managed and to united them.

The chinese in Mal.(30%) have a great influence in the economy , because they are hardworkers and in the past they are helping to build Malaysia.
The Ind. chinese are traders , and they get help from the dutch.The malaysians have also their small problems , the so called The Malay Dillema.
Pse see an article in de Groene amsterdam 14 aug 2004.

User icon of sidia
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To avoid misunderstanding :
Momok Bule is the bogeyman.
The little children are afraid , a big whiteman like a giant with read hair.
And in dark , very spookye .( Iiih takut ).
PS : not the same as MxMxK Bule .

User icon of marzakelstyn
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that is many people move to another country or buy some apartment in singapore incase emergency matters like difference's beliefs.

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