Indonesia is the largest Muslim populated country in the world. 80% of the country’s 245 million people are Muslim. On the other hand, about 13% of Indonesia is Christian, and 2.77% are Evangelicals.
Indonesia is also a country with severe Christian and Muslim tensions. While religious freedom is in Indonesia’s Constitution, many unofficial restrictions have been placed on Christianity, enforced by certain Muslim sects.
On December 13, 2012, The Voice of the Martyrs reported of Ribur, a Christian Indonesian woman who was beaten and then jailed for sharing Jesus and the Bible with her local community in Aceh, Sumatra. Her assailants accused her of blaspheming against Islam. The VOM also reports of churches forced to close down because of Muslim protests.
On September 12, 2011, Indonesian security personnel were deployed in Ambon, in response to a violent conflict between Christians and Muslims that started from a quarrel during a funeral. The funeral was held for Darvin Saiman, a taxi driver who died in a motorbike accident. Following Saiman’s accident, text messages were sent that accused Christians of Saiman’s death, sparking the quarrel. 5 deaths and 80 injuries were reported.
The most severe period of time – the Maluku Islands sectarian conflict – was from 1999 to 2002, and left more than 5,000 dead and half a million displaced. In this tragic example of conflict between two people groups, both Christians and Muslims were assailants and victims.
Prayer is needed for the people of Indonesia. The Bible calls us to be “peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9), and as Christians, we are called to rejoice in persecution (Mat. 5:11), turn the cheek to one who offends us (5:38), and to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (5:44). As such, please pray for a heart of peacefulness in Christians in Indonesia, so that as they bear persecution, they exhibit the attitude and humility of Jesus. Pray also for the Muslim extremists, as Christ teaches us to, that they may have a softer heart to see the attitudes of Christians around them and that God would lead them to saving knowledge of Jesus. Pray for the Indonesian people as a whole, who are bystanders in the conflicts.
FEBC operates in Indonesia, broadcasting the Gospel message of Jesus to communities through radio programming. If you are interested in finding out more about what FEBC does in Indonesia, or if you would like to support our programming, please click on the corresponding links.