More Muslims live in Indonesia than anywhere else in the world, and on April 17, the country is electing its next president. Since Indonesia embraced democracy in 1998, it has provided a strong example for the separation of religion and state.
However, today the political situation in Indonesia seems to have changed. “The role of religion should not be underestimated. It provides the means to operate in politics and it is used by all sides,” Susanne Schröter, director of German research institute Global Islam, told DW.
Indonesia’s current president, Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, is running against ex-general Prabowo Subianto, who has attacked his opponent for not being sufficiently Islamic. For example, Jokowi has been accused of not being able to recite the Koran in proper Arabic. Jokowi’s election team is also trying to improve their candidate’s religious reputation by claiming that he attended a Muslim school.
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s Supreme Court has upheld a jail sentence for a mother of four who was convicted last year on blasphemy charges for complaining that her neighborhood mosque was too loud.
In a March 27 ruling posted on the court’s website on Monday, the court rejected the appeal by Meliana, a 44-year old ethnic Chinese, Buddhist resident of Medan on Sumatra island.
Indonesia has the world’s largest population of Muslims, and sizable Buddhist, Christian and other religious minorities, but the propagation of conservative and hardline interpretations of Islam in recent years has fanned fears that the secular nation is becoming less tolerant.
JAKARTA (Reuters) – The wife and son of a suspected militant Islamist blew themselves up in their home on the Indonesian island of Sumatra early on Wednesday after hours of tense negotiations with counter-terrorism officers, authorities said.
The world’s largest Muslim-majority country has in recent years struggled to contain a resurgence in homegrown radicalism inspired in part by the Middle Eastern extremist group Islamic State.
Police and bomb squad officers had surrounded the house in Sibolga, North Sumatra, after arresting her husband a day earlier over his suspected links to a planned attack on a local police headquarters. The wife and child had remained in the house.
An interrogation technique used by the Indonesian police has caused a scandal after a video of it was uploaded online at the beginning of February. In the video, a police officer wraps a huge snake around a suspect in order to frighten him into confessing. It happened in a police station in Papua, in eastern Indonesia, on an unknown date.
Padang Trade Agency officials have conducted an inspection and confirmed that the satay restaurant had been using pork without notifying their customers. They have also confiscated hundreds of pieces of satay and 2 kilograms of frozen pork from the sellers as evidence.
The alleged mastermind of the Bali bombings will not be released from prison early unless he renounces radicalism, Indonesia’s president has said – backtracking from plans to free him imminently without conditions.
Joko Widodo said radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir must agree to pledge loyalty to the state to win his parole.
Former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, serving a jail term on blasphemy charges, no longer wants to be known by his popular Chinese nickname Ahok and instead prefers to be known by his initials BTP.
In a letter to his supporters ahead of his release from prison next week, Purnama said he was grateful to God for his defeat in the Jakarta gubernatorial election and the jail term. If he could turn back the clock and chose, he would still prefer the jail sentence over “ruling the City Hall for five years,” which would have made him only “more arrogant and ruder,” he said in the letter posted on his Instagram page.
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s national human rights agency said on Monday it was concerned about the launch of a mobile application by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office, which allows members of the public to report religious beliefs they consider “misguided”.
Indonesia has no state religion but has traditionally required citizens to register as Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian, though last year the Constitutional Court affirmed the rights of faiths outside official religions after a challenge by some indigenous faiths.
Health experts fear the world’s largest Muslim country may suffer an outbreak of either disease. Rubella can cause birth defects if pregnant women catch the virus, while one in 15 cases of measles can turn life-threatening.
All 189 people on board a doomed jet that plunged 5,000ft into the sea off Indonesia are ‘likely dead’, rescuers say.
Lion Air’s flight JT-610 was heading to Pangkal Pinang, an island north of the capital, Jakarta, when it lost contact with air control about 6.33am local time – just 13 minutes after take-off.
Shortly before the disaster, the plane’s pilot, Indian national Bhavye Suneja, had reported ‘technical difficulties’ and, minutes after take-off, asked to return to the airport, an official said. Traffic control allowed the return, but the aircraft then vanished from radar.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Organizers of an Indonesian movement to promote a moderate brand of Islam have canceled a mass rally after its youth supporters burned the flag of an outlawed hard-line Muslim group, sparking allegations of blasphemy.
The rally in Yogyakarta, predicted to draw 100,000 people, was canceled to prevent violence, said Yahya Cholil Staquf, general secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization.
Video of members of Nahdlatul Ulama’s youth arm burning the flag of the outlawed group, Hizbut Tahrir, has stirred controversy in Indonesia because the flag is also emblazoned with the Islamic declaration of faith. Their uniforms indicated they’re part of the youth organization’s militia.