From: "Tata Martadinata"
Date: Wed, 09 Nov 2005 22:58:57 -0000
Subject: [ahmadi-ina] Kebebasan Beragama versi Pemerintah USA
Buat nambah wawasan, kebebasan beragama di Indonesia versi pemerintah
International Religious Freedom Report 2005
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
The Constitution provides for "all persons the right to worship
according to his or her own religion or belief" and states that "the
nation is based upon belief in one supreme God." The Government
generally respects freedom of religion; however, restrictions
continued to exist on some types of religious activity and on
unrecognized religions. In addition security forces occasionally
tolerated discrimination against and abuse of religious groups by
private actors, and the Government at times failed to punish
There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom
during the period covered by this report. Most of the population
enjoyed a high degree of religious freedom. However, because the
Government recognizes only five major religions, persons of non-
recognized faiths frequently experienced official discrimination,
often in the context of civil registration of marriages and births or
the issuance of identity cards.
Sporadic incidents of possible inter-religious violence continued in
Central Sulawesi and the Moluccas, but at a significantly lower rate
than during the previous reporting period.
Terrorists and members of religious extremist groups carried out
attacks during the year, including the September 2004 bombing in front
of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta that killed 12 persons and
injured more than 100.
During the period covered by this report, Aceh Province remained the
only province within the country specifically authorized to implement
Islamic law, or Shari'a. Some smaller political parties remained
sympathetic to the idea of adopting Shari'a on a nationwide basis, but
this proposal generally remained outside mainstream political
discourse, and the country's biggest Muslim social organizations
opposed the idea.
Some notable advances in inter-religious tolerance and cooperation
occurred during the period covered by this report. Government
officials continued to work together with Muslim and Christian
community leaders to diffuse tensions in conflict areas, particularly
in Central Sulawesi and the Moluccas.
The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom issues with the
Government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.
Section I. Religious Demography
An archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, the country covers an area
of approximately 1.8 million square miles (approximately 0.7 million
square miles landmass) and has a population of approximately 240
million. More than half of the population resides on the island of
The Indonesian Central Statistic Bureau (BPS) conducts a census every
10 years. The latest data available, from 2000, drew on 201,241,999
survey responses; the BPS estimated that the census missed 4.6 million
persons. Accoring to the BPS report, 88.2 percent of the population
label themselves Muslim, 5.9 percent Protestant, 3.1 percent Catholic,
1.8 percent Hindu, 0.8 percent Buddhist, and 0.2 percent "other,"
including traditional indigenous religions, other Christian groups,
and Judaism. The country's religious composition remains a politically
charged issue, and some Christians, Hindus, and members of other
minority faiths argue that the census undercounted non-Muslims.
Most Muslims in the country are Sunni, although some follow other
branches of Islam, including Shi'a. According to Shi'a headquarters in
Jakarta, there are between 1 and 3 million Shi'a practitioners
nationwide. In general, the mainstream Muslim community belongs to two
orientations: "modernists," who closely adhere to scriptural orthodox
theology while embracing modern learning and modern concepts; and
predominantly Javanese "traditionalists," who are often followers of
charismatic religious scholars and organized around Islamic boarding
schools. The leading "modernist" social organization, Muhammadiyah,
claims approximately 30 million followers while the largest
"traditionalist" social organization claims 40 million.
A number of smaller Islamic organizations cover a broad range of
Islamic doctrinal orientations. At one end of the ideological spectrum
lies the Islam Liberal Network, which promotes a less literal
interpretation of Islamic doctrine. At the other end are groups such
as Hizb ut-Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), which advocates a pan-Islamic
caliphate, and the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI), which advocates
implementation of Shari'a as a precursor to an Islamic state.
Countless other small organizations fall between these poles.
Separate from the country's dominant Sunni Islam population, a small
minority of persons subscribe to the Ahmadiyyah interpretation of
Islam. This group maintains 242 branches throughout the country. In
1980, the Indonesian Council of Ulamas (MUI) issued a "fatwa" (a legal
opinion or decree issued by an Islamic religious leader) declaring
that Ahmadiyyah is not a legitimate form of Islam.
There are also small numbers of other messianic Islamic groups,
including the Malaysian-affiliated Darul Arqam, the syncretist
Indonesian Jamaah Salamulla group (also called the Salamulla
Congregation), and the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Institute (LDII
Many of the country's Christians reside in the eastern part of the
country. Many urban ethnic Chinese citizens adhere to Christian faiths
or combine Christianity with Buddhism or Confucianism. Smaller
Christian groups include the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Internal migration has altered the demographic makeup of the country
over the past 3 decades. It has increased the percentage of Muslims in
the predominantly Christian eastern parts of the country. Although
government-sponsored transmigration from heavily populated Java and
Madura to less populated areas contributed to the increase in the
Muslim population in the resettlement areas, no evidence suggests that
the Government intended to create a Muslim majority in Christian
areas, and most Muslim migration seemed spontaneous. The economic and
political consequences of the migration policy contributed to
religious conflicts in Maluku and Central Sulawesi and to a lesser
extent in Papua.
The Hindu association Parishada Hindu Dharma Indonesia (PHDI)
estimates that 18 million Hindus live in the country, a figure that
far exceeds the government estimate of 3.6 million. Hindus account for
almost 90 percent of the population in Bali. Balinese Hinduism has
developed various local characteristics that distinguish it from
Hinduism as practiced on the Indian subcontinent. Hindu minorities
(called "Keharingan") also reside in Central and East Kalimantan, the
city of Medan (North Sumatra), South and Central Sulawesi, and Lombok
(West Nusa Tenggara). Some of these Hindus left Bali as part of the
Government's transmigration program. Hindu groups such as Hare Krishna
and followers of the Indian spiritual leader Sai Baba also exist,
although in small numbers.
Some indigenous faiths, including the "Naurus" on Seram Island in
Maluku Province, incorporate Hindu beliefs. The Naurus combine Hindu
and animist beliefs, and many also have adopted some Protestant
principles. The Tamil community in Medan represents another important
concentration of Hindus. North Sumatra has a Sikh population of more
than 10,000, most residing in Pematang Siantar or Medan. The
population is part of the North Sumatra Punjabi community, which is
otherwise primarily Hindu. There are seven Sikh gurdwaras (Sikh
schools) in North Sumatra. The Government registers Sikhs as "Hindus,"
a practice many Sikhs object to but have been unable to change.
Among the Buddhists, an estimated 60 percent practice the Mahayana
school. Theravada followers account for another 30 percent, with the
remaining 10 percent belonging to the Tantrayana, Tridharma,
Kasogatan, Nichiren, and Maitreya schools. According to the Young
Generation of Indonesian Buddhists (GMBI), most adherents live in
Java, Bali, Lampung, West Kalimantan, the Riau islands, and Jakarta.
Ethnic Chinese make up an estimated 60 percent of the country's
Buddhists. Two major Buddhist social organizations exist, the
Indonesian Great Sangha Conference (KASI) and the Indonesian Buddhist
Council (WALUBI), and many adherents have affiliated themselves with
one or the other.
The number of adherents of Confucianism remains unclear, because the
national census no longer enables respondents to identify themselves
as Confucian. The percentage of practicing Confucians may well have
increased after the Government lifted restrictions related to the
faith in 2000. This includes the right to celebrate publicly the
Chinese New Year. The Supreme Council for Confucian Religion in
Indonesia (MATAKIN) estimates that ethnic Chinese make up 95 percent
of Confucians with the balance mostly indigenous Javanese. Many
Confucians also practice Buddhism and Christianity. MATAKIN has urged
the Government to reinsert the Confucian category into the census.
Sizeable populations in Java, Kalimantan, and Papua practice animism
and other types of traditional belief systems, termed "Aliran
Kepercayaan." Many of those who practice Kepercayaan describe it as
more of a meditation-based spiritual path than a religion. Some
animists combine their beliefs with one of the government-recognized
Descendants of Iraqi Jews who came to the country more than a century
ago to trade spices still live and practice in Surabaya. They have a
small synagogue, which is currently inactive. A small Jewish community
also exists in Jakarta.
The Baha'i community reported that it had thousands of members in the
country, but no reliable figure exists.
Falun Gong representatives claim the group, which considers itself a
spiritual organization instead of a religion, has 2,000 to 3,000
followers in the country, nearly half of whom live in Yogyakarta and
No data exists on the religious affiliations of foreign nationals and
At least 350 foreign missionaries, primarily Christian, operate in the
country. Many work in Papua, Kalimantan, and other areas with large
numbers of animists.
Section II: Status of Religious Freedom
The Constitution provides "all persons the right to worship according
to their own religion or belief" and states that "the nation is based
upon belief in one supreme God." The Government generally respects
religious freedom; however, some restrictions exist on certain types
of religious activity and on unrecognized religions.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs extends official status to five
faiths: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
Religious organizations other than the five recognized faiths can
register with the Government, but only with the Ministry for Culture
and Tourism and only as social organizations. This restricts certain
religious activities. Unregistered religious groups cannot rent venues
to hold services and must find alternative means to practice their
The Government permits the practice of the indigenous belief system of
Kepercayaan, but as a cultural manifestation, not a religion.
Followers of "Aliran Kepercayaan" must register with the Ministry of
Education's Department of Education. Some religious minorities whose
activities the Government had banned in the past, such as those of the
Rosicrucians, may now operate openly.
Despite its overwhelming Muslim majority, the country is not an
Islamic state. Over the past 50 years, many Islamic groups
sporadically have sought to establish an Islamic state, but the
country's mainstream Muslim community has rejected the idea.
Proponents of an Islamic state argued unsuccessfully in 1945 and
throughout the parliamentary democracy period of the 1950s for the
inclusion of language (the "Jakarta Charter") in the Constitution's
preamble making it obligatory for Muslims to follow Shari'a. During
the Suharto regime, the Government prohibited all advocacy of an
Islamic state. However, with the loosening of restrictions on freedom
of speech and religion that followed the fall of Suharto in 1998,
proponents of the "Jakarta Charter" resumed advocacy efforts. Although
these efforts were rejected by the People's Consultative Assembly
(MPR), a body that has the power to change the Constitution, the MPR
approved changes to the Constitution that mandated that the Government
increase "faith and piety" in education. This decision, seen as a
compromise to satisfy Islamist parties, set the scene for an education
bill signed into law in 2003 that restricted religious freedom by
forcing elementary and secondary school students to undergo religious
instruction, sometimes in a religion other than their own. Even before
the passage of the bill, students had to choose religious instruction
from five types of classes, representing only Islam, Catholicism,
Protestantism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
The Shari'a issue generated some debate and concern during the period
covered by this report. However, in most areas, Islamization campaigns
that began in 2002 seemed to lose momentum and the Shari'a issue
received much less attention at the national level. Regencies that
passed local Shari'a ordinances in previous periods took few if any
new steps to implement the ordinances. Aceh remained the only province
within the country in which the central Government specifically
authorized Shari'a. Bulukumba Regency in South Sulawesi launched a
bylaw (Perda) in 2003 implementing civil Islamic law in that regency
for all Muslims; the regulation does not apply to non-Muslims, nor is
it enforced in the Tanjung Bira Beach area, frequented by
international tourists. The regulation requires Muslims to wear
Islamic dress, have the ability to read the Qur'an, and implement
strict anti-alcohol and narcotic measures. The Madura regency of
Pamekasan established a local Shari'a implementation committee in 2003
calling for the wearing of Muslim attire by Muslim civil servants and
the cessation of public and work activities during the call to prayer.
In 2003, Presidential Decree 11/2003 formally established Shari'a
courts in Aceh by renaming the existing religious courts and retaining
their infrastructure, jurisdiction, and staff. The judges of these new
Shari'a courts stated that they would focus on cases related to the
"performance of Islamic duties in daily life," the subject of the
second local regulation approved by the legislature. Sofyan Saleh,
head of the Islamic Law Supreme Court, reported that since the tsunami
in December 2004, Aceh's Shari'a courts handled approximately 6,000
cases, two-thirds of which dealt with inheritance or other property
Religious leaders responsible for drafting and implementing the
Shari'a regulations stated that they had no plans to apply criminal
sanctions for violations of Shari'a. Islamic law in Aceh, they said,
would not provide for strict enforcement of "fiqih" or "hudud," but
rather would codify traditional Acehnese Islamic practice and values
such as discipline, honesty, and proper behavior. They claimed
enforcement would not depend on the police but rather on public
education and societal consensus. However, on June 24, 2005, Civil
Shari'a police publicly caned 15 men convicted of gambling in its
first implementation of corporal punishment in Aceh. A few thousand
spectators watched as police administered the canings. Those who were
caned fought the ruling, arguing that, because government officials
never publicized the provincial decree on caning, the punishment was
illegitimate. They also argued that the punishment was degrading and
that the Aceh court system punished them twice by making them serve
both the common law sentence and undergo the caning.
Provincial and district governments established Shari'a bureaus to
handle public education about the new system, and local Islamic
leaders, especially in North Aceh and Pidie, called for greater
government promotion of Shari'a as a way to address mounting social
ills. Some human rights and women's rights activists complained that
implementation of Shari'a focused on superficial issues, such as
proper Islamic dress, while ignoring deep-seated moral and social
problems, such as corruption.
Other efforts to educate the public about Shari'a included a high-
profile public education campaign in the weeks leading up to the
fasting month of Ramadan (October 2004), in which police handed out
Islamic head coverings to women and encouraged shopkeepers to close
during midday prayers. The program lasted only a few weeks. There was
no evidence that such rules applied to non-Muslims. Since early 2004,
Banda Aceh's main Baiturrahman mosque has continued to operate a
"Mosque Brigade" consisting of young men in uniform who patrolled the
grounds before and after prayer times to enforce proper dress codes
and discourage improper behavior. At times, the police detained people
for "public education" if caught wearing improper Islamic dress or
dating, but those detained were not arrested or charged with crimes.
The Government requires official religions to comply with Ministry of
Religious Affairs and other ministerial directives, such as the
Regulation on Building Houses of Worship (1969), the Guidelines for
the Propagation of Religion (1978), Overseas Aid to Religious
Institutions in Indonesia (1978), and Proselytizing Guidelines (1978).
Of the more than 200 political parties in the country, 24 passed the
legal threshold for participation in the 2004 national elections. Of
these, seven have direct or partial affiliation with Islam. Five of
these are the United Development Party (PPP), the Star and Crescent
Party (PBB), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the Star of Reform
Party (PBR), and the United Nahdlatul Community Party (PPNUI). Former
leaders of the Muhammadiyah and the NU led nationalist parties, the
National Mandate Party (PAN) and the National Awakening Party (PKB)
respectively, attempted to draw on grassroots support from their
former Islamic social organizations. Of the 24 parties that
participated in the 2004 legislative election, only the Prosperous
Peace Party (PDS) had an openly Christian orientation. No party
representing a religion other than Islam or Christianity competed in
the 2004 legislative election. In this election, Islamic parties
received approximately 21 percent of the vote, nationalist parties
associated with Islamic social organizations earned 18 percent, and
the Christian PDS received less than 2 percent of the vote.
The armed forces provide religious facilities and programs at all
major housing complexes for servicemen and servicewomen who practice
one of the five officially recognized religions. Organized services
and prayer meetings are available for members of each recognized
religion. Although every military housing complex must provide a
mosque, a Catholic church, a Protestant church, and worship centers or
temples for Buddhists and Hindus, smaller compounds rarely offer
facilities for all five religions.
Religious groups and social organizations must obtain permits to hold
religious concerts or other public events. Permits are usually granted
in an unbiased manner unless a concern exists that the activity could
anger members of another faith in the area.
Religious speeches can take place if delivered to coreligionists and
not intended to convert persons of other faiths. However, televised
religious programming remains unrestricted, and viewers can watch
religious programs offered by any of the recognized faiths. Islamic
television preacher Abdullah Gymnastiar claims 80 million viewers. In
addition to Muslim programs, ranging from religious instruction to
talk shows on family issues, many Christian programs are offered,
including ones featuring televangelists as well as programs by and for
Buddhists and Hindus.
Some Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist holy days are national
holidays. Muslim holy days celebrated include the Ascension of the
Prophet, Idul Fitr, Idul Adha, the Muslim New Year, and the Prophet's
Birthday. National Christian holy days are Christmas, Good Friday, and
the Ascension of Christ. Three other national holidays are the Hindu
holiday Nyepi, the Buddhist holiday Waisak, and Chinese New Year,
celebrated by Confucians and other Chinese. In Bali, all Hindu holy
days are regional holidays, and public servants and others did not
work on Saraswati Day, Galungan, and Kuningan.
The Government has a monopoly on organizing the Hajj pilgrimage to
Mecca. In December 2004, the Department of Religious Affairs reduced
the number of officials allowed to perform the Hajj because their
presence was considered a distraction for Mecca officials that
resulted in neglect for non-official pilgrims. The decision freed up
enough money to feed pilgrims twice a day during their stay in Medina.
During the period covered by this report, a number of government
officials and prominent religious and political leaders interacted
with interfaith groups, including the Society for Inter-religious
Dialog (MADIA), the Indonesian Anti‑Discrimination Movement (GANDI),
the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP), the Indonesian
Committee on Religion and Peace (also ICRP), the Institute for
Interfaith Dialog (Interfidei), and National People's Solidarity
(Solidaritas Nusa Bangsa).
Restrictions on Religious Freedom
During the period covered by this report, certain policies, laws, and
official actions restricted religious freedom, and the police and
military occasionally tolerated discrimination against and abuse of
religious groups by private actors.
The first tenet of the country's national ideology, Pancasila,
declares belief in one supreme God. Atheism is not recognized, but
there were no reports of the repression of atheists.
The Government continued to restrict the construction and expansion of
houses of worship. It also maintained a ban on the use of private
homes for worship unless the local community approved and a regional
office of the Ministry of Religious Affairs provided a license.
National law requires that a community agree on the construction of
any new house of worship before it is built. Some Protestants
complained about the difficulty of obtaining community approval and
alleged that in some areas, even when the Muslim community approved a
new church, outside activists presented a long list of signatures
opposed to the project. In the North Sumatra community of Perbangunan,
in Deli Serdang Regency, a Lutheran group bought land in 2003 for a
new church, but Islamic militants from outside the area destroyed the
partially built church. At the end of the period covered by this
report, the congregation had not rebuilt the church.
Many members of minority faiths complained that the Government made it
harder for them than for Muslims to build a house of worship.
Christian groups complained that the Government closed at least three
Jakarta churches unfairly during the period covered by this report. On
October 3, 2004, a local Muslim community group, the Karang Tengah
Islam Community Foundation (KTICF), with help from members of the
Islam Defenders Front (FPI), erected a 2-meter high and 5-meter wide
wall that blocked access to Sang Timur Catholic School. The
predominantly Muslim local community objected to the school's
operation because a Catholic parish routinely held religious
ceremonies in the school gymnasium in violation of its operating
permit. Following protest against the wall and extensive national
publicity, local government workers knocked it down on October 25,
2004, just hours before the arrival of former Indonesian President and
Islamic leader Abdurrahman Wahid. Wahid had called for the wall's
removal and sought to mediate an end to the dispute.
Muslims routinely reported difficulties in establishing mosques in
Muslim-minority areas of Papua, North Sulawesi, and elsewhere.
The civil registration system continued to restrict religious freedom
of persons who did not belong to the five officially recognized
faiths. Many animists, Baha'is, Confucians, and members of other
minority faiths found it impossible to register their marriages or
children's births because the Government did not recognize their
religion. For example, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas-
HAM) investigated cases in Batam where the registration office refused
to register the marriages of Confucian couples. Neither the
registration office nor the Mayor has provided Komnas-Ham with an
explanation for the refusals. Couples prevented from registering their
marriage or the birth of their child in accordance with their faiths
must either convert to one of the five recognized faiths or
misrepresent themselves as belonging to one of the five. Those who
choose not to register their marriages or births risk future
difficulties. For example, many children without a birth certificate
cannot enroll in school or may not qualify for scholarships.
Individuals without birth certificates will not qualify for government
The Government requires all adult citizens to carry a National
Identity Card (KTP), which identifies, among other things, the
holder's religion. Members of faiths not recognized by the Government
generally cannot obtain KTPs unless they incorrectly identify
themselves as a member of a recognized religion. During the period
covered by this report, some Civil Registry officials rejected
applications submitted by members of unrecognized faiths, while others
accepted applications but issued KTPs that inaccurately reflected the
applicants' religion. Some animists ended up receiving KTPs that list
their religion as Islam. Some Confucians ended up with Buddhist KTPs.
Even some Protestants and Catholics ended up receiving KTPs listing
them as Muslims. It appears that Civil Registry staff used Islam as
the "default" category for many members of unrecognized faiths. Some
citizens without a KTP had difficulty finding work. Several
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and religious advocacy groups
urged the Government to delete the religion category from KTPs.
Men and women of different religions faced serious obstacles to
marrying and officially registering their marriages. Such couples had
great difficulty finding a religious official willing to perform an
interfaith marriage ceremony, and a religious ceremony is required
before a marriage can be registered. As a result, some persons
converted, sometimes superficially, in order to marry. Others traveled
overseas, where they wed and then registered the marriage at an
Indonesian Embassy. In addition, despite being among the officially
recognized faiths, Hindus stated that they frequently had to travel
long distances to have their marriages registered, because in many
rural areas the local government could not or would not perform the
On April 23, 2005, during a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to
the country, followers of Falun Dafa, a group also known as Falun
Gong, peacefully demonstrated in front of the Chinese Embassy. The
police arrested 12 members of the Falun Dafa. On April 28, 2005, the
courts sentenced all 12 to 2 months in jail and 6 months probation for
violating a local ordinance by demonstrating beyond a proscribed area.
The Government continued to restrict the religious freedom of certain
messianic Islamic groups. An official ban on the activities of the
groups Jamaah Salamullah, Ahmadiyyah, and Darul Arqam remained in
effect, influenced by a 1980 fatwa by the MUI. However, the Government
did not take any action to enforce the ban and thus enabled the groups
to stay in operation through the formation of companies that
distribute "halal" goods.
Occasionally, hard-line religious groups used pressure, intimidation,
or violence against those whose message they found offensive. Despite
continued criticism from Islamic hardliners, prominent Islamic
intellectual Ulil Abshar-Abdalla maintained his public appeals for a
less literal interpretation of Islamic doctrine. Ulil's Islam Liberal
Network (JIL) confronted hardliners in public forums, including
seminars. On June 25, 2005, 2,000 people calling themselves the Palu
City Muslim Community protested against an opinion article, entitled
"Islam, A Failed Religion," written by a lecturer at the Muhammadiyah
University in Palu. The protestors threatened to bring more people to
protest and "settle the problem themselves" if the police did not act
within 24 hours. The article, among other things, highlighted the
spread of corruption in the country. Bowing to pressure from the
protestors, the management of Central Sulawesi's biggest daily, Radar
Sulteng, did not publish the newspaper for three days. The police
criminally charged the writer for insulting Islam and held him for 5
days before placing him on house arrest.
The Government bans proselytizing, arguing that such activity,
especially in areas heavily dominated by members of another religion,
could prove disruptive. A joint decree issued by the Ministries of
Religion and Home Affairs in 1979 prohibits members of one religion
from trying to convert members of other faiths. Three women from the
Christian Church of Camp David (GKKD) were arrested in Indramayu, West
Java, on May 13, 2005, and charged under Indonesia's Child Protection
Law for allegedly attempting to convert Muslim children to
Christianity. The women were charged after community members
complained that during the Sunday school program held at their house,
free pencil boxes and t-shirts were given to the attendees, including
Muslim children. At the end of the period covered by this report, the
trial was ongoing.
Foreign religious organizations must obtain permission from the
Ministry of Religious Affairs to provide any type of assistance (in-
kind, personnel, and financial) to religious groups in the country.
Although the Government generally did not enforce this requirement,
some Christian groups stated that the Government applied it more
frequently to minority groups than to mainstream Muslim groups.
Foreign missionaries must obtain religious worker visas, which some
described as difficult to obtain or extend. The administrative
requirements for religious worker visas are more onerous than for
other visa categories, requiring not only approval from each office of
the Department of Religion from the local to the national level but
also statistical information on the number of followers of the
religion in the community and a statement confirming that the
applicant will work no more than 2 years in the country before
replacement by a local citizen. Foreign missionaries granted such
visas worked relatively unimpeded. However, many missionaries with a
primary focus on development work successfully registered for social
visas with the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education.
No restrictions exist on the publication of religious materials or the
use of religious symbols. However, the Government bans the
dissemination of these materials to persons of other faiths.
At times, the government has placed restrictions on religious speech.
On May 8, 2005, Muhammad Yusman Roy, an Islamic school leader, was
charged with "despoiling an organized religion," a crime that carries
a maximum punishment of 5 years in jail, for leading prayers at his
Islamic boarding school in Arabic followed by an Indonesian
translation. Even though prayers are traditionally led only in Arabic,
The country's two largest Muslim associations criticized police for
the arrest, claiming Roy did not commit a crime.
The Government did not ban any books because of religious content
during the period covered by this report.
Government employees must swear allegiance to the nation and to the
national ideology, Pancasila, which includes belief in one supreme
The armed forces had no discernable restrictions on religious freedom
during the period covered by this report. Ethno-religious
representation in the general officer corps appears generally
proportional to the religious affiliation of the population at large;
Muslims dominate but Christians have representation in the general
officer ranks. Although some allege that there is a "glass ceiling"
for promotion to the most senior ranks for Christians and other
minorities, a Christian serves as the Armed Forces Chief of General
Staff. Additionally, a Christian recently served as the Chief of Staff
of the Navy, and a Christian has been overall Commander in Chief of
the Indonesian Defense Forces. There are high-ranking Hindu officers
in the armed forces.
The law does not discriminate against any religious group in
employment, education, housing, or health care. However, some
Christians and members of other religious minority groups believe they
often are excluded from prime civil service postings and graduate
student slots at public universities.
In some municipalities across the country, local leaders applied
stricter Islamic practices during the period covered by this report
than in the past. For example, in the West Java Regency of Cianjur, a
local regulation required all government workers to wear Islamic
clothing every Friday. Virtually all women complied with the
regulation, and women's groups, including Women's Solidarity
(Solidaritas Perempuan), said the women were afraid not to comply.
Some residents alleged the authorities were meddling in private
Some residents of the South Sulawesi regencies of Maros, Sinjai, and
Gowa, and of the West Java regencies of Indramayu and Garut, had to
follow stricter Islamic practices than in the past, such as wearing
Muslim clothing or setting aside time for workers to perform group
As in previous years, during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, many
local governments ordered either the closure or a reduction in
operating hours of various types of entertainment establishments. The
Jakarta decree ordered the month-long closure of non-hotel bars,
discos, nightclubs, sauna spas, massage parlors, and venues for live
music. However, billiard parlors, karaoke bars, hotel bars, and discos
were permitted to operate for up to 4 hours per night. Some members of
minority faiths, as well as some Muslims, felt that these orders
infringed on their rights. Enforcement of the orders varied.
Divorce was a legal option available to members of all religions, but
Muslims who wished to seek divorce generally had to turn to the Islam-
based family court system, while non-Muslims obtained a divorce
through the national court system. Marriage law for Muslims is based
on Shari'a and allows a man to have up to four wives, provided that he
is able to provide equally for each of the wives. For a man to take a
second, third, or fourth wife, court permission and the consent of the
first wife are required. However, women reportedly find it difficult
to refuse, and Islamic women's groups were divided over whether the
system should be revised. In divorce cases, women often bear a heavier
evidentiary burden than men, especially in the Islam-based family
court system. The law requires courts to oblige the former husband to
provide alimony or its equivalent, but there is no enforcement
mechanism, and divorced women rarely receive such support. In 2004,
the Department of Religion conducted internal discussions over a draft
Islamic family law revision that aimed to enhance the legal rights of
Muslim women in many aspects of marriage and divorce law. After
mounting criticism by mainstream and conservative Islamic law experts,
Minister of Religious Affairs, M. Maftuh Basyuni, shelved the
legislation and ended further discourse on the matter.
Abuses of Religious Freedom
Although the Government made significant efforts to reduce inter-
religious violence, such violence occurred during the period covered
by this report. On some occasions, the Government tolerated the abuse
of religious freedom by private groups or failed to punish
In 2003, unknown assailants attacked four villages in Poso, killing
eight persons. A joint military/police force searched the surrounding
forest and killed six suspects, two of them identified as Rachmat Seba
and Madong. Because most of the victims were Christians, and because
four of the attacks coincided with the first anniversary of the Bali
bombings, some speculated that the perpetrators were Islamic
extremists. The Government was continuing its investigation and at
least 13 suspects remained in custody at the end of the period covered
by this report.
Some Christians criticized the arrest of Rev. Rinaldy Damanik, a
leader of the Christian community in Central Sulawesi. Convicted of
weapons possession in 2003, Damanik appealed the decision, but a
Central Sulawesi court rejected his appeal that year. Some of
Damanik's supporters insisted that he had been framed or that he was
persecuted for speaking out for the Christian community. In November
2004, Damanik was released almost a year earlier than his original
release date. Reflecting the province's success in conflict resolution
efforts, the response from both local Christian and Muslim communities
to this release was muted.
Some Christians continued to criticize the prosecutions by Maluku
courts of members of the separatist Republic of South Maluku (RMS) and
its associated group, the Maluku Sovereignty Front (FKM), whose
membership is mainly Christian. However, most observers agree that the
Government prosecuted these members for separatist activities and not
on religious grounds.
There were no reports of religious prisoners or detainees.
Forced Religious Conversion
There were no reports of forced religious conversion, including of
minor U.S. citizens who had been abducted or illegally removed from
the United States, or of the refusal to allow such citizens to be
returned to the United States.
In January 2005, there were erroneous reports that a U.S.-based group
had custody of 300 Muslim children orphaned by the December 2004
tsunami and intended to place them in Christian homes as part of a
long-term effort to spread Christianity in Aceh. Despite retractions
and responsible statements from officials, the reports generated
outrage and suspicion of foreign relief operations.
Abuses by Terrorist Organizations
Terrorists active in the region carried out one major attack in the
country during the period covered by this report. The September 2004
suicide attack on the Australian Embassy killed 10 persons and injured
approximately 100 more. Although the attack was not targeted at any
specific religion, it was the work of operatives of the Jemaah
Islamiyah (JI) terror group in collaboration with members of the
extremist Negara Islam Indonesia (NII). The JI's agenda includes using
violence in an attempt to create an Islamic super-state in Southeast
Asia, while the NII aims to implement Islamic law in the country. The
Government subsequently arrested six perpetrators of that attack,
which was intended to extract revenge on the Australians for their
role in suppressing Muslims in the country. At the end of the period
covered by this report, the trials were ongoing.
The Government successfully prosecuted more than 20 terrorists and
their associates during the period covered by this report, not only
members of JI but also of other groups of terrorists and religious
extremists. Among those convicted during this period were about a
dozen perpetrators of the 2003 Marriott bombing in Jakarta, and a
number of Islamic extremists who accidentally blew up a house while
practicing bomb assembly in March 2004.
Some Muslims criticized the arrest and prosecution of Abu Bakar
Ba'asyir, the head of the JI terrorist group, who was convicted of
immigration violations in 2003. Police rearrested Ba'asyir in April
2004 following the completion of his jail sentence. On March 4, 2005,
Ba'asyir was found guilty and sentenced to 30 months in jail for
involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings but acquitted of more serious
terrorism charges. On May 11, 2005, the country's high court upheld
Ba'asyir's conviction. At the end of the period covered by this
report, the Supreme Court was reviewing the case.
Improvements in Respect for Religious Freedom
NGOs in the country made some progress in improving respect for
religious freedom, particularly in the conflict zones of Central
Sulawesi and the Moluccas. NGOs worked closely with religious leaders
and the local community to promote mutual respect and cooperation.
Conflict resolution efforts in former conflict areas of Central
Sulawesi and the Moluccas continued to progress during the period
covered by this report. Religious leaders and their followers visited
each other's religious holiday celebrations and often consulted with
each other. Sporadic violence incidents in both areas during the
period covered by this report failed to spark broader conflict as it
had done in years past.
In December, 2004, a 2-day International Dialogue on Interfaith
Cooperation, organized jointly with Muhammadiyah, was co-sponsored in
Yogyakarta by the Government and the Government of Australia. The
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the dialogue with remarks
that terrorism must be regarded as the enemy of all religions and that
tolerance building was critical. Major faith leaders from Australia,
New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and East Timor participated in the
In a national celebration of the Chinese New Year, the President
stated that the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, including
Confucianism, and followers should not hesitate to practice their
beliefs. The New Year, which took place in February 2005, was
celebrated without incident.
Local police displayed significantly more willingness during the
period covered by this report to indict security forces allegedly
involved in religious violence. In January 2005, local police arrested
a senior police officer for his alleged role in the December 2004
church bombings in Palu. Local police also became more active in
making arrests of those allegedly involved in violent incidents. A day
after the shooting of a Palu clergywoman in July 2004, the Police
Chief held a closed door meeting with local religious leaders and
promised that the police would guarantee security for both Christians
and Muslims. Since that time, local police have protected local
churches and other prayer houses during religious services.
Local courts also began, for the first time, to try some cases of
those allegedly responsible for violence in Ambon. Beginning in July
2004, local courts began to prosecute a rash of cases, including 17
trials of predominantly Christian separatists in connection with the
April 2004 violence.
The Government has taken more steps to prosecute perpetrators involved
in Maluku and Sulawesi conflict. On August 28, 2004, 12 Muslim
militants were sentenced for their involvement in the Morowali attack
in Central Sulawesi in 2003.
Section III: Societal Attitudes
For many years there has been growing Islamic awareness among the
country's Muslims and increasing displays of public piety. The number
of businesses associated with Islam, religious schools, and community
prayer rooms all grew during the period covered by this report.
Muslim-only housing estates attracted more attention. Bookshops did a
brisk trade in fiction with Islamic themes, and Qur'anic verses were
distributed via cellular phone text messages. At public meetings where
the topic for discussion was not related to religion, Muslim speakers
increasingly addressed mixed-religion crowds with a traditional Muslim
greeting, which was seldom heard at such events in years past and
resented by some non-Muslims.
The use of Islamic headscarves grew more popular, particularly among
younger women, during the period covered by this report. Motivations
were myriad; some wore the headscarf as an act of spiritual
submission, while others sought a sense of emancipation or security in
a society in which law and order were often weak. Still others did so
as part of a global identification with Islam or out of a desire to
demonstrate their piety. Islamic banking gained popularity during the
period covered by this report but still accounted for only a tiny
percentage of depositors.
Economic tensions between local or native peoples, who are
predominantly non-Muslim, and more recent migrants, who are
predominantly Muslim, were a significant factor in incidents of inter-
religious and interethnic violence in the Moluccas, Central Sulawesi,
Papua, and Kalimantan.
Violence between Christians and Muslims continued during the period
covered by this report. On December 12, 2004, unidentified assailants
attacked two churches in Palu, injuring three people. On October 21, a
man on a motorcycle fired on a house being used for prayer meetings of
a local Protestant congregation. On July 18, 2004, a clergywoman was
shot to death in Effata Church in Palu, Central Sualawesi, and four
churchgoers were injured.
In Maluku Province, the number of those killed in possibly sectarian
incidents fell significantly during the period covered by this report
from the almost 50 victims during the previous 12-month period. Maluku
has been relatively calm since riots surrounding the commemoration of
a separatist group in April 2004 killed dozens of Ambon residents. A
few minor explosions occurred in some places, but no casualties were
reported. One Pentecostal minister was abducted on a small island near
Ambon in early December. Police quickly arrested the kidnapper on
December 10, 2004.
Extremists purporting to uphold public morality sometimes attacked
cafes and nightclubs that they considered venues for prostitution or
that had not made payments to extremist groups. On October 24, 2004,
during the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI)
attacked the Star Deli bar in Kemang, South Jakarta. FPI members
smashed their way into the bar and destroyed windows, furniture, and
alcohol. FPI leader, Jafar Sidik, said the action was taken against
those who failed to respect Ramadan. As a result of this incident,
police arrested four members of the FPI.
Significantly more attacks on houses of worship were reported during
the period covered by this report when compared to the previous one.
According to the Indonesian Christian Communication Forum (FKKI), at
least 13 churches were attacked: 6 in Jakarta, 3 in West Java, and 1
each in the Moluccas, Central Java, East Java, and Central Sulawesi
during the previous period, while at least 26 churches were attacked
during this reporting period: 3 in Jakarta, 21 in West Java, and 2 in
Central Sulawesi. In June 2004, mobs armed with sticks attacked a
church and three shops used for religious services in Pamulang,
Tangerang, and Banten Provinces, injuring a minister and damaging pews
and windows. Some churches were attacked while services were still in
session. Media reports said the churches were targeted because they
were established without permission of the local government. The South
Jakarta Police arrested four suspects for destruction of property.
In January 2005, at least six Hindhu temples in Legian, Tuban, Kuta,
and Kedoganan, Bali, were reportedly vandalized. The Bali police made
two arrests, but the motive for the crimes remained unknown. One
mosque attack was reported during the previous reporting period: the
An-Nur mosque in the district of Talake in Ambon. According to Yusuf
Elly, a Muslim leader and chairman of the Jazirul Muluk foundation,
dozens of Christians burned the mosque on April 26, 2004, after
attacking a number of local Muslims with homemade weapons.
On some occasions, publications with controversial religious themes
provoked outrage. A popular local rock musician had to change his
album cover after receiving complaints from local Muslim groups for
using the world "Allah" in Arabic script on the cover. The singer's
second band had to change its cover as well after receiving complaints
from Hindu groups for publishing a picture of a Hindu god on the
In general Islam in the country remained overwhelmingly tolerant, and
had a pluralistic outlook. In 2003, a comprehensive survey asked
Muslims whether they felt that Islam should tolerate diverse
interpretations of its teachings. A majority, 54 percent, agreed,
while 44 percent said there is only one true interpretation of Islam.
Unforced conversions between faiths occur, as allowed by law, but they
remain a source of controversy. Some persons converted to marry a
person of another faith; others converted in response to religious
outreach or social activities organized by religious groups. Some
Muslims accused Christian missionaries of using food and micro-credit
programs to lure poor Muslims to conversion. Some of those who
converted felt compelled not to publicize the event for family and
Late in 2004, the Christian-owned leading Medan daily Sinar Indonesia
Baru (SIB) ran a caricature suggesting Muslims habitually support
corrupt political candidates. The "Si Suar Sair" incident, named after
the cartoon character that expressed these views, led to public
outrage in parts of the Muslim and Christian communities. North
Sumatra police investigated the newspaper's publisher to seek evidence
on who was responsible for the caricature. The newspaper's owners
apologized for publication of the cartoon.
Sabili, a widely read Islamic magazine, published articles with anti-
Semitic statements and themes. It made assertions suggesting the
existence of covert conspiratorial "Zionist" activities ongoing in the
In Papua, Muslims constitute a religious minority except in the
districts of Sorong and Fakfak, where they account for roughly half
the population. Most ethnic Papuans practice Christianity, animism, or
both. In recent years, migration has changed Papua's ethnic and
religious composition. The arrival of Muslim migrants occasionally led
to tensions between indigenous Papuans and new arrivals. However,
these tensions had less to do with religion than with economics.
During the period covered by this report, inter-religious relations
were generally good in Papua.
North Sumatra did not experience major inter-religious violence, but
some grievances arose among members of different faiths. Some non-
Muslims took offense to loud and long prayer calls emanating from
mosques and felt the calls invaded their privacy. Muslims complained
of pork and dog meat being sold overtly by non-Muslims with signs
stating "pork" or "dog" rather than the discreet "B1" and "B2" used in
the past. In Medan, Muslims and Christians criticized Hindus for
cremating their dead. The illegal gambling industry also caused
frictions among religious communities in Medan. Supporters of an
Islamist political party carried out a campaign against casinos
largely run by Christian and Indonesian Chinese Buddhist mafias.
Detractors described the Islamist political party's motivation as a
pretense for expressing anti-Christian and anti-Chinese sentiment
rather than as a means to support enforcement of anti-gambling laws.
There were reports that faith-based social organizations at times
extracted financial contributions from non-Muslim merchants,
particularly before major Islamic holidays. Most commonly, these
actions relied on social pressure from Muslim-majority communities.
Many of those targeted were ethnic Chinese, who generally practiced
Buddhism, Christianity, or Confucianism.
Interfaith organizations remained active during the period covered by
this report and attracted media coverage. Many of these groups worked
together under the umbrella organization True Brotherhood Network
(JPS) to seek the repeal of regulations they considered discriminatory
and held seminars and discussions on problems related to respect for
Other private organizations also promoted respect for religious
freedom. The Islam Liberal Network (JIL), an alliance of Muslim
intellectuals who aim to stimulate debate on Islamic topics,
confronted fundamentalism by participating in dialogue via Internet,
radio, newspaper, television, and paid visits to institutes of higher
Section IV: U.S. Government Policy
The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, the Consulate General in Surabaya, the
Embassy's Medan Office, and visiting State Department officials
regularly engaged government officials on religious freedom issues and
also encouraged officials from other embassies to discuss the subject
with the Government. Embassy staff at all levels met frequently with
religious leaders and human rights campaigners to promote respect for
religious freedom. Embassy staff met regularly with NU and
Muhammadiyah officials to clarify U.S. policy and discuss religious
tolerance and other issues.
Embassy outreach emphasizes the importance of religious freedom and
tolerance in a democratic society. During the period covered by this
report, the Embassy arranged eight speaking tours throughout the
country for U.S. scholars to address religious tolerance and human
rights issues, including a team from Hartford Seminary that spoke at
pesantren and universities in Lombok and Yogyakarta on interfaith
dialogue. Universitas Islam Negeri and the Liberal Islam Network each
received a grant this year to survey attitudes toward religious
practice and extremism and determine if they correlate with public
opinion critical of the U.S. and its policies.
The Embassy regularly distributed information on religious freedom and
religious tolerance in the U.S. through radio, newspaper, and
television. It placed 59 programs on 14 television stations, ranging
from 13-hour documentaries to 2-minute news features on topics such as
Secretary Colin Powell's Iftaar and mosques in America. Books and
pamphlets distributed to the public included 152,000 copies of "Muslim
Life in America" and 500,000 copies of "Democracy Papers."
Approximately 175,000 copies of the American Outline Series were
distributed to religiously affiliated organizations at the launch of
the translated version. The 5-volume series contains 3 different
seminars on "Pluralism in the U.S. and Indonesia." The Embassy also
distributed articles to 1200 recipients on topics concerning
international religious freedom and religious pluralism in the United
During the month of Ramadan, the Embassy made extensive use of the
media to convey its key message of U.S. respect for Islam, the
important role tolerance plays in a democracy, and shared Indonesian-
U.S. values. The Embassy conducted a series of unique public diplomacy
activities, including placement of op-ed articles, charity events, and
reporting tours in the U.S. These activities resulted in the placement
of 93 programs and articles in more than 30 media outlets, reaching
tens of millions of Indonesians. One program of note was an original
television documentary series televised nationally. This joint
project, developed as a TV Co-op between the State Department's Office
of Broadcast Services and one of The country's oldest national
television networks, Cakrawala Andalas Televisi (ANTV), produced 30 3-
minute mini-features on topics concerning Islam in America and
profiles of Muslims in the U.S. The stories were broadcasted during
the evening news every weekday during Ramadan, minutes before the
Maghrib prayer. This program carried the message that Islam has become
part of the religious and cultural mix of the United States. ANTV
reported very favorable viewer responses to the features. One viewer
was cited as saying, "by the footage shown and people depicted, I can
see the situation of American Muslims and can feel the positive
atmosphere of Muslim life there."
The Embassy sponsored more than 76 religious scholars, religious
leaders, human rights activists, community leaders, youth leaders,
students, and journalists to travel to the U.S. and participate in
programs related to religious freedom during the period covered by
this report. Topics included the U.S. Political System and Religious
Pluralism, Religious Multiculturalism in a Democratic Society, Inter-
religious Dialogue, Conflict Management and Tolerance Promotion, and
Educational Development. In addition, the Embassy sent more than 55
pesantren leaders to the U.S. on an exchange program focused on
religious tolerance and civic education. In 2004, 38 students and
teachers from private boarding schools attended an international youth
leadership program on religious diversity, leadership, and civic
education. Through the Youth Exchange and Study program (YES) more
than 60 Muslim students are spending 1 year at high schools throughout
the United States.
During the period covered by this report, the Embassy and the
American-Indonesian Exchange Foundation continued to support the
country's first graduate-level comparative religion program at Gadjah
Mada University in Yogyakarta. Six English Language Fellows were based
in Islamic institutions of higher education. Ten of the country's
institutions of higher education, five of which are Islamic
universities, have established "American Corners," which are small
program and information centers that provide computers with Internet
access and reference materials about American life, including
religious topics, and venues for discussion about religious pluralism
with mission officers and Embassy-sponsored speakers. Grants from the
Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs went to two U.S. universities
to support conflict resolution and training exchanges and to establish
five mediation centers in Islamic institutions of higher learning
across the country.
Under the Islam and Civil Society (ICS) program in the country, the
United States has continued to maintain one of the most widely heard
radio talk shows in Asia, promoting democracy, gender equality, and
religious pluralism. This 30-minute call-in weekly radio talk-show
entitled "Religion and Tolerance" has reached approximately 3 million
people since 2001. For the past three years, the transcripts of the
"Religion and Tolerance" radio show have been published weekly by a
newspaper syndicate of 100 newspapers in about 50 cities reaching 2
million readers. Listeners from Aceh to Papua have responded
enthusiastically to the radio program and the stations on which the
program is broadcast often received requests for the talk-show to be
extended to an hour. The response from readers of the transcripts has
been equally encouraging, and the newspaper syndicate has had to
create a new column to accommodate the flood of reader's comments.
The U.S. continued to support the production of inexpensive leaflets
written with culturally meaningful perspectives and language, and
containing themes of pluralism and democracy. These leaflets are
currently distributed in 30 key cities throughout Java, Madura, South
and North Sulawesi, and West Nusa Tenggara. The leaflets have been
published for 5 years, which is a demonstration of their success.
Local communities have also recognized the important impact the flyers
have in conflict areas. When inter-religious conflict erupted in
Mataram, West Lombok, for example, local police officers requested
that the leaflets be distributed more widely. Similar requests have
been made by communities in conflict areas such as Poso and Gorontalo.
Released on November 8, 2005