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Indonesia Facts

Score: 59 / 100
Region: Asia
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: High
Population: 263,510,000
Christians: 31,925,000
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Presidential Republic
Leader: Joko Widodo

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 41%
Church Life 55%
National Life 60%
Community Life 68%
Family Life 66%
Private Life 62%

Where Persecution Comes From

Political, cultural and religious forces all contribute to the Christian persecution in this Southeast Asian country. Conservative Muslim political parties and radical Islamic pressure groups exert great influence, resulting in Sharia (Islamic law)-inspired policies and public opinion that opposes Christianity. These groups have the ability to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people, as they did when they protested against Jakarta Christian governor “Ahok” for alleged blasphemy between September 2016 and May 2017. While the government has announced plans to tighten the country’s blasphemy laws, most problems for believers occur on the local level in confrontations with radical Islamic groups.

How Christians are Suffering

While violent persecution affects only a small percentage of Christians in Indonesia, the overall situation for believers has deteriorated in recent years. This is especially true in hot spots like West Java, where radical Islamic groups are powerful, exerting heavy influence on society and politics. These radical groups cause problems for churches that proselytize Muslims and often pressure government officials to ignore applications for construction of church buildings. Meanwhile, converts from Islam usually face persecution from their own families, particularly in the form of isolation and verbal abuse.

Examples

There have been several reports of converts to Christianity being detained by their families without means of communication. In most of these cases, the victims have been isolated for several weeks. Some converts have even been expelled from their homes.

Children of Christians are often ostracized and verbally abused. In some regions, Muslim families forbid their children from playing with Christian friends, labeling them as “infidels.” Christian children are sometimes mocked by Islamic teachers and are forced to sit in the back of the classroom.

In November 2016, an attacker threw a Molotov cocktail (a crude grenade) into Oikumene Church in Samarinda, East Kalimantan, killing a two-year-old girl and wounding three other children under the age of four.

In May 2017, “Ahok,” the Christian governor of Jakarta, was sentenced to two years in prison for an allegedly blasphemous comment he made in September 2016.

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Pray for Indonesia

  • Pray for Christian children in public schools within strong Islamic regions who often experience discrimination by unfair or biased grading on tests and schoolwork. Low grades bar them from attaining government jobs in the future. Pray for encouragement, comfort and a sense of hope for the students, as well as for them to remain strong in their faith.
  • Pray for Christian converts from Islam who experience intense pressure to renounce their faith. Pray that they would have access to Bibles and Christian community. Pray for Christian congregations who cannot secure church buildings.
  • Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. Pray that Indonesian Muslims would come to know Christ.

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