There is a small and courageous community of Orthodox Christians in Indonesia, numbering around 2500 people; Christians in general are a tiny minority in this massive nation, and they are more threatened now than ever before. Christians face increasing discrimination and persecution, and as this article notes, this persecution and discrimination is popular, and is stoked by political candidates in order to gain support: “A lot of extreme positions [have been] announced and put forth by candidates. Radical Muslims have been emboldened by some recent social events, and so they’re really ratcheting up their rhetoric and their followers are doing a lot of damage in society.” Please beseech our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that this cynical grandstanding, which victimizes innocent people, would be decisively repudiated and ended in Indonesia.
“Indonesia becomes increasingly difficult for Christians,” by Beth Stolicker, MN Online, February 4, 2019:
Indonesia (MNN) – Open Doors 2019 World Watch List was recently released. Indonesia was previously ranked #38 on the list of the most severe places for Christians to live. But on the new list, it was ranked as #30. FMI’s Bruce Allen says Indonesia is the world’s largest Muslim majority nation, but the country has been known for its moderation in the past. So what changed?
“In the last year, it has gotten tougher for the Christian minority because there is an increase in the voice, the threats, the attacks from radical Muslims. That also alarms the government there because they don’t want to see that,” Allen says.
Allen looks at more than the World Watch List’s rankings, though. He also looks at the country’s score. This information reveals the degree and type of discriminatation [sic] and persecution Christians are experiencing on the ground. Allen calls this the “squeeze and smash” factors against Christians.
Indonesia’s Radicalized Voices
Interestingly enough, ten years ago, Indonesia barely made it onto the World Watch List. Since then, it has been moving towards the more extreme end of the list’s rankings. Just in the last year, Allen says persecution against Christians in Indonesia has gotten about 10 percent worse.
“A lot of that has to do with the fact this coming April is their national elections. So, as we know here in the U.S., when you have an election year, you have a lot of campaign rhetoric. A lot of extreme positions [have been] announced and put forth by candidates. Radical Muslims have been emboldened by some recent social events, and so they’re really ratcheting up their rhetoric and their followers are doing a lot of damage in society,” Allen says….
“On these larger islands you’ll have areas that have embraced the Gospel, that have people who are living civilly with their neighbors, and there’s none of those persecution problems. But even on these islands, because some of them are rather big, you can get these isolated pockets of radical Islam, and it is spreading,” Allen says….
Christians who do pioneer evangelism where radical Muslims live risk their safety. Allen says during one situation, a group of Muslims with machetes surrounded the Christians (who were meeting with new believers to disciple them) and told them to stop….