- Discover Indonesia Online

You are currently in > Just a blog about Indonesia > Growing 'Christianisation' and religious intolerance in Indonesia

Growing 'Christianisation' and religious intolerance in Indonesia JAKARTA - Religious tolerance in Indonesia has come under increasing strain in recent years, particularly where hardline Islamists and Christian evangelicals compete for the same ground. Islamists use 'Christianisation' - a term that generally refers both to Christian efforts to convert Muslims and the alleged growing influence of Christianity in Muslim-majority Indonesia - as a justification for mass mobilisation and vigilante attacks.

The tensions brought about by these clashing fundamentalisms are nowhere clearer than in Bekasi, a suburb of Jakarta, where a series of disputes since 2008 over church construction, alleged mass conversion efforts and affronts to Islam have led in some cases to violence.

The Indonesian government needs a strategy to address growing religious intolerance, because without one, mob rule prevails. Local officials address each incident only when it gets out of hand and usually by capitulating to whoever makes the most noise. Every time this happens, the victors are emboldened to raise the stakes for the next confrontation.

Christian-Muslim tensions have increased in Indonesia for several reasons; Failure of the government to prevent or effectively prosecute incitement and intimidation against religious minorities, growth of Islamic vigilante organisations and various like-minded coalitions that have become a public order menace, aggressive evangelical Christian proselytising in Muslim strongholds.

Also important factords are the effective devolution of power through decentralisation to local authorities, even on issues such as religious affairs which are supposed to be the preserve of the central government, reluctance to prosecute "hate speech" partly out of confusion over acceptable limits on legitimate free expression and the lack of any serious effort to promote tolerance as a national value.

The incidents in Bekasi exemplify some of the dynamics involved. Islamist organisations like the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Council (Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia, DDII) and Islamic Student Movement (Gerakan Pemuda Islam, GPI) have long been active there, both with a strongly anti-Christian streak.

Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI) has had a strong presence for the last decade, and recent years have seen the formation of a variety of anti-apostasy coalitions. Bekasi also has a well-entrenched salafi jihadi community, and Jemaah Ansharut Tauhid (JAT), the organisation established by the radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir in 2008, held its inaugural ceremony at the dormitory for Mecca-bound pilgrims there.

On the Christian side, several evangelical organisations committed to converting Muslims have also set up shop in Bekasi, some funded internationally, others purely home-grown. Yayasan Mahanaim, one of the wealthiest and most active, is particularly loathed by the Islamist community because of its programs targeting the Muslim poor. Another, Yayasan Bethmidrash Talmiddin, run by a Muslim convert to Christianity, uses Arabic calligraphy on the cover of its booklets, suggesting they are Islamic in content, and requires every student at its school as a graduation requirement to convert five people.

While officials and legislators talk of the need for "religious harmony", there is a sense that this can be legislated or even imposed, rather than requiring sustained time and effort to understand how tensions have grown and developing programs designed to reduce them. Interfaith dialogues are not the answer; with a few exceptions, they are often little more than feel-good talk-fests that do not grapple with real problems.

Among the many reasons for developing a strategy to curb communal tensions, one deserves particular attention: the issue of "Christianisation" may be driving non-violent and violent extremists together. Until recently, the attachment of salafi jihadis - the violent extremists - to a more internationalist agenda led them to generally steer clear of local "anti-apostasy" activists. But the loss of other local drivers for recruitment, particularly the end of sectarian violence in Poso, Central Sulawesi, has made "Christianisation" more attractive as a rallying cry.

In Palembang, South Sumatra in 2008, a fugitive Singaporean member of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) recruited members of an anti-apostasy group called FAKTA by first persuading them that murder, rather than non-violent advocacy, was the only way to stop Christian proselytisation. And in September 2010, dozens of Acehnese on trial for taking part in a terrorist training camp cited as one of their motivations concern over "Christianisation" in Aceh.

Terrorist networks in Indonesia have grown substantially weaker and more divided over the last five years, but systematic exploitation of the fear that Christians are making inroads on Islam might bring them new followers, including from among the vigilantes that they have hitherto largely shunned.

Related blog entries (category 'Religion') Related blog entries (category 'Religion'):
16 November 2010 · Islamic refugees in church = problem with Islamic radicals
10 November 2010 · The naughty hand of minister-idiot Tifatul Sembiring
22 October 2010 · Indonesian Muslim cleric charged for marrying 12-year-old
24 September 2010 · Hizbut Tahrir denounces HKBP, demands Islamic state
20 September 2010 · Nineteen 'local' religions request for recognition
16 September 2010 · Ministry may revise decree on houses of worship

Related blog entries (category 'Religion') Tags: religious, intolereance, Christianisation, hate

Posted in Religion @ 25 November 2010 01:24 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

There are no reactions on this blog entry yet. Be the first one to give a reaction here!

Log in to write a reaction

You are not logged in to the website. You have to be logged in to write a reaction on this blog entry.

· If you already have an account, please login.
· If you have lost your password, please retrieve it.
· If you don't have an account yet, you can create one.

Add this blog entry to your email, your own blog, MySpace, Facebook, or whatsoever via AddThis:
Bookmark and Share

e-mail updates for this blog article

Login if you want to receive emails for reactions on this blog entry. You will receive an update as soon as a reaction on this blog entry is posted.

Your website for tickets in Indonesia!
Looking for e-tickets for flights in Indonesia? Here's your solution! Order your e-tickets at
· 2015, 28 entries
· 2014, 591 entries
· 2013, 750 entries
· 2012, 1061 entries
· 2011, 792 entries
· 2010, 644 entries
· 2009, 916 entries
· 2008, 504 entries
· 2007, 725 entries
· 2006, 1014 entries
· 2005, 723 entries
· 2004, 558 entries
· 2003, 525 entries
· 2002, 375 entries
· 2001, 162 entries
· gigolo
· jakarta
· blogger
Automatically generated every hour
· General (1205 entries)
· Economy (643 entries)
· Politics (574 entries)
· Accidents (561 entries)
· Terrorism (541 entries)
· Earthquake (539 entries)
· Volcanoes (387 entries)
· Crime (357 entries)
· Corruption (349 entries)
· Flooding (278 entries)
· Elections (276 entries)
· Travel (268 entries)
· Bird Flu (254 entries)
· Religion (242 entries)
· Tourism (239 entries)
· Oddly enough ... (219 entries)
· Violence (198 entries)
· Drugs (196 entries)
· Health (192 entries)
· Aceh conflict (191 entries)
· Environment (185 entries)
· Weather (171 entries)
· Military (168 entries)
· Protests (157 entries)
· Culture (106 entries)
· Garuda Indonesia (91 entries)
· C. Sulawesi conflict (86 entries)
· Human rights (82 entries)
· Forest fires (78 entries)
· Sidoarjo mudflow (71 entries)
· Power supply (64 entries)
· Ramadan (63 entries)
· PT Freeport (55 entries)
· Picture guess (48 entries)
· Maluku conflict (47 entries)
· Dengue Fever (37 entries)
· History (37 entries)
· Infrastructure (36 entries)
· Mexican flu (35 entries)
· Polio (35 entries)
· Website (25 entries)
· Media (22 entries)
· Nuclear power (21 entries)
· Sports (20 entries)
· Sexy (16 entries)
· SARS (15 entries)
· Nightlife (10 entries)
· Others (5 entries)
· Lippo Cikarang (5 entries)
· Close smallest categories
EUR-IDR: 16,590 · 16,620  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 18:12 CET
JPY-IDR: 126.83 · 126.95  The Rupiah rate improved since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 21:58 CET
MYR-IDR: 3,545 · 3,549  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 15 May 2018 08:42 CET
SGD-IDR: 10,479 · 10,501  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 07 May 2018 07:48 CET
THB-IDR: 439.14 · 439.41  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 16 May 2018 09:18 CET
USD-IDR: 14,097 · 14,157  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 00:46 CET
Go to 'exchange rates' 
·  At 03 March 2021 07:43 hotwin reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 10 November 2020 16:59 AdvocaatHulp reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 14 July 2020 08:32 newnight reacted on Three more bodies of AirAsia victims to Surabaya hospital
·  At 20 September 2018 06:54 erik12 reacted on Fuel prices lowered, again
·  At 19 October 2015 17:17 imambudianto5 reacted on Bank Indonesia maintains benchmark interest rate at 7.75%
·  At 04 March 2015 19:18 merdekaSah reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 04 March 2015 13:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 26 February 2015 13:02 Irena reacted on Sexy, a young woman with candy
·  At 08 May 2014 09:51 jstar reacted on No alcohol should be sold in warung
·  At 01 May 2014 10:07 jstar reacted on Indonesia to be among the top 10 peacekeeping contributors
·  At 27 March 2014 05:50 harlys reacted on PPP leader voices concern over Islamic parties' future
·  At 10 March 2014 06:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 09 March 2014 00:11 Yerun reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 08 March 2014 20:33 nicknick reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 18 February 2014 04:17 Yerun reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 16 February 2014 05:41 Amed East Bali reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 14 February 2014 22:27 Anne Mieke reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 14 February 2014 22:22 beritaislam reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 16 January 2014 15:37 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:21 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
Go to 'forum topics' 

Created by · feedback & contact · © 2000-2021
Other websites by · · ·

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional 146,633,532 pageviews Discover Indonesia Online at