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The Christian Post: Eight prisoners in Indonesia reformed by Christianity sang and prayed as they walked to their executions Wednesday morning, witnesses said.
ABC News: Five law graduates from the University of Indonesia argue part of the country’s Marriage Act is unconstitutional. They have said the Constitution protects religious freedom and the rights for all people to be treated equally under the law.
Associated Press: “Malaysia and Indonesia have banned the biblical epic ‘Noah,’ joining other Muslim nations that forbid the Hollywood movie for its visual depiction of the prophet.”
The Sydney Morning Herald: “The big-budget film, which opens in Australia on Thursday, has been blocked by censors in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates because it could offend Muslim viewers by depicting a prophet. Indonesia followed on Monday with a unanimous decision by the Indonesian Censorship Board.”
The Malay Mail: “Ever since she was arrested for khalwat three years ago, Christian Indonesian Halimah has lived in fear of being thrown into jail in a foreign land for an offence she had no way of understanding. That fear was reinforced after the Penang Shariah Court convicted her of being in close proximity with a person of the opposite gender who is not her spouse or relative, an offence under Islamic law and enforceable exclusively on Muslims, which further bewildered Halimah.”
Permissive Constitutions, Democracy, and Religious Freedom in India, Indonesia, Israel, and Turkey | World Politics
Lerner, Hanna, Permissive Constitutions, Democracy, and Religious Freedom in India, Indonesia, Israel, and Turkey (October 1, 2013). World Politics, Volume 65, Issue 4 (October 2013), pp. 609-655 . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2404925
Asia News: “After weeks of protests by inter-faith groups, Gajah Mada University (UGM), one of Indonesia’s oldest and most renowned centres of higher education, suspended a controversial regulation that prevented people from openly professing atheism or any religion other than the six recognised by the state.”
Jakarta Globe: “The Supreme Court penalized nearly every judge at the Religious Affairs Court in Ponorogo district, East Java, on Tuesday for allowing members of an unrecognized bar association to practice law in the court, according to reports in local media.”
Morningstar News: Two days before Christmas, the Rev. Titus, a pastor in Cimahi, West Java who goes by a single name, was initially too upset to discuss the events that led to the closure of his church. The usually jovial and open pastor of Isa Almasih Church (Gereja Isa Almasih, or GIA) on Kalasan Street said he had become suspicious of all people, including the reporter who came from Jakarta to meet him.
AP: Human rights groups and Indonesian religious organizations were appalled by Thursday’s award, saying President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has done too little to suppress a rising tide of violence against minority faiths.
AP: Indonesia’s government, security forces and courts must do more to protect religious minorities from growing episodes of intolerance and violence, an international rights group said in a report Thursday.
Religion Clause Blog: The Jakarta Post reported yesterday that six Catholic schools in the Indonesian municipality of Bitar, East Java, have agreed to provide offsite Islamic lessons to their Catholic students in compliance with Mayoral Decree No. 8/2012 issued last year requiring all Muslim students to be able to read and write Koranic verses
AsiaNews.it: Tegal District leaders and Catholic representatives hold special meeting. Sister Madeleine rejects accusations and reiterates her schools’ policy, from kindergarten to high school. Muslim parents with children in Catholic schools agree, defending the latter’s independence.
AP: Indonesians enraged over an anti-Islam film hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta on Monday, marking the first violence in the world’s most populous Muslim country since outrage exploded last week in the Middle East and beyond.
Washington Post: Indonesians are calling for the producer of an anti-Islam film to be punished by the United States.
Catholic Culture: Christian leaders in Indonesia’s Aceh province are expressing grave concern over a wave of violent attacks against churches. The attacks have apparently been carried out by Muslim extremists.
The Church Report: U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey has introduced legislation that would allow Indonesian immigrants the chance to reopen their bids for U.S. asylum.
Catholic Culture: Local officials in the Aceh Singkil Regency in Indonesia have closed 20 churches and will likely demolish them.
Catholic Culture: Officials of the Diocese of Pangkal-Pinang charge that protests from local Muslims have prevented civil authorities from approving the construction of a minor seminary.
Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi at the Middle East Forum: Nonetheless, the overall trend is pointing in a negative direction with respect to treatment of religious minorities. In February of last year, a Christian man was convicted of “blasphemy” against Islam and sentenced to five years in prison.
Canada Free Press: Seventeen churches have been forcibly closed in Indonesia’s Aceh province following last month’s election of a hard-line Islamic governor.
The Church Report: A mob of 600 Islamic hardliners threw plastic bags filled with urine at an Indonesian church congregation celebrating the ascension of Christ, a lawyer said on Friday.
AP: Scores of Christian youths in the Philippines chanted “Stop the Lady Gaga concerts” at a rally Friday calling for the pop diva’s shows here to be canceled despite assurances from authorities that they won’t allow nudity and lewd acts.
Catholic Culture: In the Indonesian province of Aceh, protests by Muslim militants have led to the closing of three Christians churches: two Catholic and one Protestant.
Religion Clause Blog: he Guardian reported yesterday that in Indonesia, for the first time an atheist is being prosecuted for blasphemy, which includes a violation of the first pillar of Indonesia’s state philosophy – pancasila, which requires belief in one god.
NY Daily News: Rovani Wangkoa, 45, is supposed to report to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be sent back to the homeland he fled in 1995 because of religious persecution.
AP: Now, his transgender former nanny has given up her tight, flowery dresses, her brocade vest and her bras, and is living in fear on Indonesia’s streets.
Crouch, Melissa, Indonesia’s Blasphemy Law: Bleak Outlook for Minority Religions (January 26, 2012). Asia Pacific Bulletin (East-West Center), No. 146. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1995154 This brief article discusses Indonesia’s 2010 Constitutional Court ‘Blasphemy Law’ ruling, which leaves so-called ‘deviant’ groups …
Baptist Press: Acts of violence and intolerance against Christians in Indonesia nearly doubled in 2011, with an Islamist campaign to close down churches a key factor in the plight of the nation’s religious minority.
NY Daily News: Harry Pangemanan, 41, has been told to report to immigration officials, with plane tickets in hand, three days before Christmas. He’s hoping for a reprieve. Indonesian Christians urged the feds to get into the holiday spirit and spare them from deportation — by singing “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World” in front of Manhattan’s federal building.
Christian Today: A day after a suicide bomb attack wounded 28 at a church in Indonesia, affiliated with Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback megachurch, explosives were found in front of another church in a different district Monday, exposing the magnitude of the threat to minority Christians.
ENInews: In a test case of religious intolerance in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, an Indonesian mayor is defying court rulings by pushing for a decree to block Christians from opening churches on streets with Islamic names.
AP: President Barack Obama has embraced Indonesia as a crucial U.S. ally in Southeast Asia, but rights groups and critics in Congress say the administration is too eager to trumpet Jakarta as a democratic success story.
BBC News: Islamic police in the Indonesian province of Aceh have forced two women to have their marriage annulled and sign an agreement to separate.
AP: A mayor is trying to ban Christian churches on streets with Islamic names, the latest attempt to block construction of a new parish in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
The Jakarta Globe: In the latest wave of international condemnation over the ‘lenient sentences’ handed out to a extremist mob, British MPs are calling for Indonesia to uphold human rights and squash religious intolerance.
AP: When Dani bin Misra was released from prison last week after serving just three months for smashing in the skull of a member of a Muslim sect, this conservative Indonesian town let out a triumphant cry.
AP: Foreign governments and human rights groups say the relatively light sentences given to 12 men who participated in the brutal killings of three minority Muslim sect members sends a chilling message about growing religious intolerance in Indonesia.
Religion Clause: The Merdeka Center for Opinion Research has recently released a survey of Muslim youth in Indonesia and Malaysia. The study, Values, Dreams, Ideals: Muslim Youth In Southeast Asia, reports on surveys conducted in October and November 2010 among young people age 15 to 25. A portion of the report deals with attitudes of those surveyed toward religion and government. Here is a portion of the report’s conclusions . . .
International News Network: A vast majority of young Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia disapprove of the traditional acceptance of polygamy. They are, however, reluctant to openly support interfaith marriages or premarital sex, says a new survey.
Religion Clause: In Semarang, Indonesia, four panels of district court judges last week convicted 17 Muslims of destroying public property and assault in connection with sectarian violence that took place last February in the central Java town of Temanggung.
Persecution Blog: Human rights and Christian leaders said a West Java court’s light sentence for Islamic extremists who injured a church pastor and an elder will encourage more violence and religious intolerance.
Religion Clause Blog: n Indonesia, the governor of the province of West Java yesterday issued a gubernatorial regulation (No. 12 of 2011) banning all public activities by the 17,000 members of the Ahmadiyah sect in the province. Today’s Jakarta Globe reports that the action is seen as implementing an Indonesian 2008 joint ministerial decree that bars the Ahmadiyah from spreading their faith.
AP: “Indonesian police say 10 suspects have been arrested after Islamic hard-liners set churches on fire and killed three members of a minority Islamic sect.”
Catholic Culture: “Indonesian police have stepped up security around Christian churches in Java in the wake of a series of attacks by Muslim militants, amid complaints that the government has not provided adequate protection for religious minorities.”
Religion Clause Blog: “In Indonesia yesterday, a thousand Muslims surrounded a house in West Java, attempting to prevent the Ahmadiya movement from holding worship services.”
Asia Times: “Indonesia’s Supreme Court ruled that Christians have the right to use a site they own for religious functions. Local authorities, who had stopped church construction in 2008, are now criticised for not implementing the court ruling, allowing Islamic extremists to patrol the site.”
Jakarta Globe: “A hard-line Islamic group is set to file a class-action lawsuit against the Bogor administration for its failure to rescind the Indonesian Christian Church’s building permit. The move follows the announcement on Friday that the Supreme Court had rejected the administration’s request to uphold the revocation of the church’s permit to construct a place of worship.”
Associated Press: “The maker of BlackBerry promised Indonesia on Monday it will meet the country’s request to filter out pornographic content on its smartphones in the next four days, according to a government spokesman.”
eWeek Europe: “BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has two weeks to block porn websites from its smartphones in Indonesia or risk being shut down, the Indonesian government has said.”
The Jakarta Globe: “If one trend that emerged in the past year was considered more disturbing than others, it would be the apparent increase in fundamentalism and religious intolerance in a country that prides itself on being a bastion of pluralism.”
The Jakarta Globe: “Religious tolerance groups have lambasted the government over its lack of response to the intimidation of a Christian congregation forced to hold its Christmas service out on the street in Bogor.”
Asia News: “Bogor authorities have banned all public activities or celebrations associated with Christmas, including Christmas Mass, at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Parung, Tulang Kuning, Bogor Regency (West Java Province).”
Jakarta Globe: “While the antics of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front frequently make headlines, other radical groups are working quietly behind the scenes to build a wide base of support, a nonprofit has said. The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace on Wednesday released a report detailing how radical Muslim groups were shoring up their support by forging political alliances and embracing more liberal groups and moderate clerics.”
Associated Press: “An Indonesian court has sentenced an American businessman to five months in jail for marching into a mosque during Islamic prayers and ripping cables from the loud speakers.”
AFP: “Indonesian Christians appealed to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for protection on Monday after Muslim vigilante groups, backed by police, surrounded their homes and forced them to leave.”
Associated Press: “An Indonesian Muslim cleric who sparked a national outcry by marrying a 12-year-old girl was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison.”
Associated Press: “She arrived in Saudi Arabia a high-spirited 23-year-old, eager to start work as a maid to help support her family back home. Four months later, Sumiati was Indonesia’s poster child for migrant abuse, alone and staring vacantly from a hospital bed, her face sliced and battered.”
Excerpt from a New York Times story on President Obama’s childhood in Indonesia: “His nanny was an openly gay man who, in keeping with Indonesia’s relaxed attitudes toward homosexuality, carried on an affair with a local butcher, longtime residents said. The nanny later joined a group of transvestites called Fantastic Dolls, who, like the many transvestites who remain fixtures of Jakarta’s streetscape, entertained people by dancing and playing volleyball.” Via the Daily Telegraph’s Toby Harnden.
Terry Jeffrey writing at Townhall: “It is both ironic and instructive that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not only made the same stops on a trip to Indonesia four years ago, but was greeted, according to press reports, as a ‘rock star.’”
CNN: “Indonesia and the United States share principles of unity and tolerance and both can benefit from strengthened ties that will bolster trade and combat terrorism, President Obama said in a highly anticipated speech Wednesday.” Partial video is included in article.
Full text of Obama’s prepared remarks can be found here.
Associated Press: “President Barack Obama’s every utterance in a speech Wednesday morning at the University of Indonesia was met with laughter, applause and a swelling feeling that he belonged to this nation of islands.”
Associated Press: “President Barack Obama has paid a visit to Indonesia’s largest mosque, one of the largest of its kind in southeast Asia.”
The Jakarta Globe: “Amnesty International on Thursday demanded that the government abolish laws infringing on women’s reproductive health rights, including the law that forbids abortion.”
ACLJ: “I am pleased to report that an ACLJ legal team has successfully obtained asylum in the United States for a 22-year-old woman from Indonesia – a woman who left the Muslim faith and converted to Christianity. As a result, she faced grave danger – including the threat of death – if she returned to her home country.”
CatholicCulture.org: “Some 700 Catholic and Protestant churches have been attacked in Indonesia over the past decade, according to the Indonesian Christian Communication Forum. Between October 12 and October 17, a Catholic parish was attacked, another was threatened with attack, and a Protestant church was burned down.”
Jakarta Globe: “Buddhists are the latest minority religious group to feel the heat, being at the center of a festering row over a large Buddha statue on the roof of a temple in the North Sumatran city of Tanjung Balai. City council chief Surya Dharma said on Friday the governor and the foundation in charge of the temple had agreed to remove the statue after complaints from an Islamic group.”
Religion Clause Blog: “The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom this week sent a letter (full text) to President Obama urging him to highlight the importance of religious freedom during his upcoming visits to Indonesia and India.”
The Jakarta Post: “The Indonesian Ulema Council has proposed a ‘comprehensive’ look at the relationships between Muslims and other religious communities, to counter the escalation in inter-faith conflicts.”
Christian Post: “The Batak Christian Protestant Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestan, or HKBP) in Ciketing village, Bekasi, decided in a congregational meeting on Sunday to accept a government offer to move worship services to the former Organization and Political Party (OPP) building on the condition that local officials will keep a promise to build a new house of worship for them within two years in the Mustika Sari district.”
The Jakarta Globe: “More than 100 members of the Islamic Defenders Front launched protests against foreign-run venues participating in Indonesia’s gay and lesbian film festival on Tuesday.”