Indonesia continues to be a country both blessed and challenged by its diversity. While it is the largest Muslim country in the world, its predominant brand of Islam (Islam Nusantara) is fairly tolerant and gives other minorities some freedoms. Indonesia is one of the most decentralized countries in the world, including in regards to religion. Islamic by-laws are used in certain regions and territories, and the province of Aceh is even ruled by Sharia law, though it is still under Indonesia’s constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion. President Joko Widodo, who was surprisingly elected in May 2014, has shown signs of favoring human rights and listening to minorities. Despite this, his track record has disappointed national and international observers. Religious minorities continue to suffer from radical Islamic groups and Christians face problems in registering church buildings, sometimes even suffering violent attacks.
Islamic radical groups overstep their legal authority, interrupting a church inauguration in a building that was approved by authorities in December for religious gatherings.
Just as Jesus handpicked lowly fishermen and transformed them into preachers of the gospel, He is still in the business of making the ordinary extraordinary.
With the alarming rise of Islamic extremism, it is critical for Christians and other minorities that Nadlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia's largest Islamic organization, remains true to its commitment to tackle terrorism.