Islamic hardliners making their presence known in Indonesia
Indonesia has generally been one of the most tolerant Muslim nations as far as allowing Christians to freely worship in an peaceful environment. However, recent news from the largest Muslim population appears to see Islamic hardliners expressing their views through force and terror to eventually stamp out the Christian faith from the island nation.
Christian churches have been closed en mass in the country. The website faithfreedom.org reports that on the Nov. 19th, 2011, seventeen churches in Aceh Singkil District were forced to close. The closing was done by the Local Administrator because of the insistence of the ulamas. The closing was done by force and threat toward the Christians.
In addition, they say that about 10,000 of those church congregation live in fear and terror. Most of them don’t dare to worship anymore, while others do the worship in palm plantations.
On Friday, about 600 Islamic extremists threw plastic bags filled with urine at an Indonesian church congregation celebrating the ascension of Christ according to the National Post.
According to church attorney, Judianto Simanjuntak, groups of Islamic hardliners had intimidated Christians in Bekasi several times this month and that leaders of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) had been spotted among them.
The members of the Philadelphia Batak Christian Protestant Church have been targeted several times in recent years.
The Islamist hardliners are also forcing their values on the secular world in Indonesia, as in the case of the cancellation of the Lady Gaga concert scheduled for June 3.
According to Billboard, Lady Gaga was denied a permit for her “Born This Way Ball” concert following protests by Islamic hard-liners and conservative lawmakers, who said her sexy clothes and dance moves will corrupt the youth.
Not everyone agrees with the hardcore Islamists:
“I’m very disappointed,” said Mariska Renata, who had tickets to the Jakarta show.
She said by bowing to the wishes of “troublemakers,” authorities only give them more power. “We are mature enough to be able to separate our own moral values from arts and culture,” Renata said.
Ninety percent of Indonesia’s population of 240 million identify themselves as Muslim but the vast majority practice a moderate form of Islam.