ndonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, took steps in 2019 to combat the rise in recent years of hard-line Islamic ideology. In many parts of the sprawling south-east Asian archipelago Christians, comprising more than 15% of the population, face discrimination and violence. Only a generation ago, Muslims and Christians lived peaceably as equals in accordance with the state-promoted philosophy “Pancasila”.
In November 2019, authorities launched a website for members of the public to report posts by civil servants containing elements of “hate, misleading information, intolerance or anti-Indonesian sentiment”. A survey revealed that 19% of civil servants, 18% of private employees and 3% of military personnel favour establishing an Islamic state i.e. ruled by sharia (Islamic law).
Give thanks that the Indonesian authorities and the NU have taken action to combat the advance of Islamic extremism. Pray that this will encourage the Muslim majority to live in harmony with their Christian neighbours, treating them equally.