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Islam in Indonesia

Islam in Indonesia

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Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

is the dominant religion in Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, which also has a larger Muslim population than any other country in the world, with approximately 202.9 million identified as Muslim (88.2% of the total population) as of 2009.

Majority adhere to the Sunni Muslim tradition mainly of the Shafi`i madhab, although some follow other branches of non-Sunni Islam, predominantly Shia and Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

. Shia number around 1 million. Whereas Ahmadiyya number around 0.5 million. In general, the Muslim community can be categorized in terms of two orientations: "modernists," who closely adhere to orthodox theology while embracing modern learning; and "traditionalists," who tend to follow the interpretations of local religious leaders (predominantly in Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

) and religious teachers at Islamic boarding schools (pesantren
Pesantren
Pesantren or Pondok Pesantren are Islamic boarding schools in Indonesia. According to one popular tradition, the pesantren education system originated from traditional Javanese pondokan; dormitories; ashram for Hindu or viharas for Buddhists to learn religious philosophies, martial arts and...

).

Spread of Islam (1200–1600)



There is evidence of Arab Muslim traders entering Indonesia as early as the 8th century. Indonesia's early people were animists, Hindus and Buddhists. However it was not until the end of the 13th century that the spread of Islam began.

The spread, although at first introduced through Arab Muslim traders, continued to saturate through the Indonesian people as local rulers and royalty began to adopt the religion, subsequently their subjects would mirror their conversion. The spread of Islam continued as Muslim traders married the local women, with some of the wealthier traders marrying into the families of the ruling elite.

The spread of Islam was, therefore, driven by increasing trade links outside of the archipelago; in general, traders and the royalty of major kingdoms were the first to adopt the new religion. Dominant kingdoms included Mataram
Mataram (city)
Mataram is the capital of the Province of West Nusa Tenggara . The city is situated within Lombok Barat Regency and lies on the western side of the island of Lombok, Indonesia...

 in Central Java
Central Java
Central Java is a province of Indonesia. The administrative capital is Semarang. It is one of six provinces on the island of Java.This province is the province of high Human Development in Indonesia and its Points Development Index countries is equivalent to Lebanon. The province of Central Java...

, and the sultanates of Ternate
Ternate
Ternate is an island in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia. It is located off the west coast of the larger island of Halmahera, the center of the powerful former Sultanate of Ternate....

 and Tidore
Tidore
Tidore is a city, island, and archipelago in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia, west of the larger island of Halmahera. In the pre-colonial era, the kingdom of Tidore was a major regional political and economic power, and a fierce rival of nearby Ternate, just to the north.-Geography:Tidor...

 in the Maluku Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

 to the east. By the end of the thirteenth century, Islam had been established in North Sumatra; by the fourteenth in northeast Malaya, Brunei, the southwestern Philippines and among some courtiers of East Java; and the fifteenth in Malacca and other areas of the Malay Peninsula. Through assimilation Islam had supplanted Hinduism and Buddhism as the dominant religion of Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

 and Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 by the end of the 16th century. At this time, only Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

 retained a Hindu majority and the outer islands remained largely animist but would adopt Islam and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in the 17th and 18th centuries.

During this process "cultural influences from the Hindu-Buddhist era were mostly tolerated or incorporated into Islamic rituals".

Despite being one of the most significant developments in Indonesian history, historical evidence is fragmentary and generally uninformative such that understandings of the coming of Islam to Indonesia are limited; there is considerable debate amongst scholars about what conclusions can be drawn about the conversion of Indonesian peoples. The primary evidence, at least of the earlier stages of the process, are gravestones and a few travellers' accounts, but these can only show that indigenous Muslims were in a certain place at a certain time. This evidence cannot explain more complicated matters such as how lifestyles were affected by the new religion or how deeply it affected societies. It cannot be assumed, for example, that because a ruler was known to be a Muslim, that the process of Islamisation
Islamization
Islamization or Islamification has been used to describe the process of a society's conversion to the religion of Islam...

 of that area was complete; rather the process was, and remains to this day, a continuous process in Indonesia. Although it is known that the spread of Islam began in the west of the archipelago, the fragmentary evidence does not suggest a rolling wave of conversion through adjacent areas; rather, it suggests the process was complex and slow.

In the late fifteenth century, the powerful Majapahit Empire
Majapahit Empire
Majapahit was a vast archipelagic empire based on the island of Java from 1293 to around 1500. Majapahit reached its peak of glory during the era of Hayam Wuruk, whose reign from 1350 to 1389 marked by conquest which extended through Southeast Asia. His achievement is also credited to his prime...

 in Java was at its decline. After it had been defeated in several battles, the last Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 kingdom in Java fell under the rising power of the Islamized Sultanate of Demak
Sultanate of Demak
The Sultanate of Demak was Javanese Muslim state located on Java's north coast in Indonesia, at the site of the present day city of Demak. A port fief to the Majapahit kingdom thought to have been founded in the last quarter of the 15th century, it was influenced by Islam brought by Arab and...

 in 1520. Islam in Java then began to spread formally, largely influenced by the Wali Songo (or the Nine Saints).

European colonization



The Dutch colonised the region in the 17th century due to its lucrative wealth established through the region's natural resources and trade. The Maluku Islands in the Indonesian archipelago were known as the "spice islands". The country's natural spices, including nutmeg, pepper, clove, were highly prized. Other popular trade items of the area include sandalwood, rubber and teak.

Although the colonisation of Indonesia resulted in a monopoly of the central trading ports, through closed trading ports, this helped the spread of Islam, as the local Muslim traders relocated to the smaller more remote ports, establishing Islam into the more rural provinces of the region.

Towards the beginning of the 20th century "Islam became a rallying banner to resist colonialism" There was a move, inspired by the Islamic scholar, Muhammad 'Abduh, to return to the original scripture of the religion. The movement "built schools that combined an Islamic and secular curriculum" and was unique in that it trained women as preachers for women.

The Minangkabau ulema
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

 played an important role in the early reform movement. In 1906, Tahir bin Jalaluddin
Sheikh Tahir Jalaluddin
Sheikh Tahir Jalaluddin was a famous Muslim ulama in Southeast Asia.He became the editor for Al-Imam publication which was published in Singapore between 1906 and 1908....

 published al-Iman, the Malay newspaper in Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

. Five years later followed publication of al-Munir newspaper in Padang
Padang, Indonesia
Padang is the capital and largest city of West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is located on the western coast of Sumatra at . It has an area of and a population of over 833,000 people at the 2010 Census.-History:...

. In the first 20th century, Muslim modernist school arose in West Sumatra
West Sumatra
West Sumatra is a province of Indonesia. It lies on the west coast of the island Sumatra. It borders the provinces of North Sumatra to the north, Riau and Jambi to the east, and Bengkulu to the southeast. It includes the Mentawai Islands off the coast...

, such as Adabiah (1909), Diniyah Putri (1911), and Sumatera Thawalib (1915). Later, islamic movement also developed in Java with the birth of the NU and Muhammadiyah.

Post independence


When Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 declared independence in 1945, it became the second largest Muslim-majority nation in the world; following the separation of Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 in 1971, it emerged as the most populous Muslim country in the world. Today it has about 88% of the population of 235 million people following Islam. In recent years there has been a trend toward a more orthodox interpretation of Islam. In a 2006 poll, 58% of people surveyed believed adulterers should be stoned, as is mandated by Islamic law, up from 39% five years before.

Upon independence there was significant controversy surrounding the role of Islam in politics; this caused enormous tensions. Eventually, "Indonesia adopted a civil code instead of an Islamic one".

Under the Suharto regime, all Islamic parties were forced to unite under one government-supervised Islamic party, the Partei Persatuan Pembangunan (Party for Unity and Development or PPP). With Suharto's resignation in 1998, "the structure that repressed religion and society collapsed".

Currently "Muslims are now fully represented in the democratically elected parliament". However, some critics assert that this has led to the emergence of such extremist groups as Laskar Jihad
Laskar Jihad
Laskar Jihad , was an Islamist and anti-Christian Indonesian militia, which was founded and led by Jafar Umar Thalib. At present, the militia is believed to have disbanded.-History:...

, who, in 2000, called "for a holy war against the Christian populations in the Malaccan islands".

Demographics



Muslims constitute a majority in most regions of Java, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, West Nusa Tenggara
West Nusa Tenggara
West Nusa Tenggara is a province in south-central Indonesia. The province encompasses the western portion of the Lesser Sunda Islands, except for Bali as the Wallace line running the length of the Lombok Strait forms the western boundary of the province....

, Sulawesi
Sulawesi
Sulawesi is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia and is situated between Borneo and the Maluku Islands. In Indonesia, only Sumatra, Borneo, and Papua are larger in territory, and only Java and Sumatra have larger Indonesian populations.- Etymology :The Portuguese were the first to...

, coastal areas of Kalimantan
Kalimantan
In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo....

, and North Maluku
North Maluku
North Maluku is a province of northeastern Indonesia. It covers the northern part of the Maluku Islands, which are split between it and the province of Maluku. Maluku province used to cover the entire group...

. Muslims form distinct minorities in Papua
Papua (Indonesian province)
Papua comprises most of the western half of the island of New Guinea and nearby islands. Its capital is Jayapura. It's the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia. The province originally covered the entire western half of New Guinea...

, Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

, East Nusa Tenggara
East Nusa Tenggara
East Nusa Tenggara is a province of Indonesia, located in the eastern portion of the Lesser Sunda Islands, including West Timor. The provincial capital is Kupang, located on West Timor...

, parts of North Sumatra
North Sumatra
North Sumatra is a province of Indonesia on the Sumatra island. Its capital is Medan. It is the most populous Indonesian province outside of Java. It is slightly larger than Sri Lanka in area.- Geography and population :...

, most inland areas of Kalimantan, and North Sulawesi
North Sulawesi
North Sulawesi is a province of Indonesia. It is on the island of Sulawesi, and borders the province of Gorontalo to the west . The islands of Sangihe and Talaud form the northern part of the province, which border Davao del Sur in the Philippines.The capital and largest city in North Sulawesi is...

. Together, these non-Muslim areas originally constituted more than one third of Indonesia prior to the massive transmigration effort sponsored by the Suharto government and recent spontaneous internal migration.

Internal migration has altered the demographic makeup of the country over the past three decades. It has increased the percentage of Muslims in formerly predominantly Christian eastern parts of the country. By the early 1990s, Christians became a minority for the first time in some areas of the Maluku Islands
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

. While government-sponsored transmigration from heavily populated Java and Madura
Madura
Madura is an Indonesian island off the northeastern coast of Java. The island comprises an area of approximately 4,250 km². Madura is administered as part of the East Java province. It is separated from Java by the narrow Strait of Madura.-History:...

 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. Regardless of its intent, the economic and political consequences of the transmigration policy contributed to religious conflicts in Maluku
Maluku Islands
The Maluku Islands are an archipelago that is part of Indonesia, and part of the larger Maritime Southeast Asia region. Tectonically they are located on the Halmahera Plate within the Molucca Sea Collision Zone...

, Central Sulawesi
Central Sulawesi
Central Sulawesi is a province of Indonesia located in the centre of Sulawesi. It was established on 13 April 1964....

, and to a lesser extent in Papua
Papua (Indonesian province)
Papua comprises most of the western half of the island of New Guinea and nearby islands. Its capital is Jayapura. It's the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia. The province originally covered the entire western half of New Guinea...

.

Organizations


The leading national "modernist" social organization, Muhammadiyah
Muhammadiyah
Muhammadiyah is an Islamic organization in Indonesia. Muhammadiyah, literally means "followers of Muhammad"...

, has branches throughout the country and approximately 30 million followers. Founded in 1912, Muhammadiyah runs mosque
Mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s, prayer houses, clinics, orphanages, poorhouses, schools, public libraries, and universities. On February 9, Muhammadiyah's central board and provincial chiefs agreed to endorse the presidential campaign of a former Muhammadiyah chairman. This marked the organization's first formal foray into partisan politics and generated controversy among members.

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest "traditionalist" social organization, focuses on many of the same activities as Muhammadiyah and indirectly operates a majority of the country's Islamic boarding schools. Claiming approximately 40 million followers, NU is the country's largest organization and perhaps the world's largest Islamic group. Founded in 1926, NU has a nationwide presence but remains strongest in rural Java. The Islam of many NU followers has heavy infusions of Javanese culture, and followers tend to reject a literal or dogmatic interpretation of Islamic doctrine. Many NU followers give great deference to the views, interpretations, and instructions of senior NU religious figures, alternately called "Kyais" or "Ulama." The organization has long advocated religious moderation and communal harmony.
A number of smaller Islamic organizations cover a broad range of Islamic doctrinal orientations. At one end of the ideological spectrum lies the controversial Islam Liberal Network (JIL)
Jaringan Islam Liberal
Jaringan Islam Liberal ' or the Liberal Islam Network is a loose forum for discussing and disseminating the concept of Islamic liberalism in Indonesia. One reason for its establishment is to counter the growing influence and activism of militant and radical Islam in Indonesia...

, which aims to promote a pluralistic and more liberal interpretation of Islamic thinking.

Equally controversial are groups at the other end of this spectrum such as Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), which advocates a pan-Islamic caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

ate, the Indonesian Mujahedeen Council
Indonesian Mujahedeen Council
The Majelis Mujahideen Indonesia , or Indonesian Mujahedeen Council, is an umbrella organisation of Indonesian Islamist groups. During the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, MMI established a command post at the Iskandar Muda Air Force base in Banda Aceh city to "help evacuate dead bodies, distribute...

 (MMI), which advocates implementation of Shari'a as a precursor to an Islamic state, and the sometimes violent Front Pembela Islam (FPI). Countless other small organizations fall between these poles. Another small organization, the Indonesian Islamic Propagation Institute(LDII) continues to grow.

Separate from the country's dominant Sunni Islam population, a small minority of persons subscribe to the Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 interpretation of Islam. However, 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 the Ahmadis are not a legitimate form of Islam.

Society



To a significant degree, the striking variations in the practice and interpretation of Islam — in a much less austere form than that practiced in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 — in various parts of Indonesia reflect its complex history. Introduced piecemeal by various traders and wandering mystics from India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Islam first gained a foothold
The Coming and Spread of Islam in Southeast Asia
The evidence available on the spread of Islam in Southeast Asia is reliant on tombstones and scattered evidence. Significant examples include a Muslim tombstone found in Champa dating from early 11th century, an Islamic tombstone of Gresik dated late 11th century, the Trengganu stone dated 1303,...

 between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries in coastal regions of Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, northern Java, and Kalimantan
Kalimantan
In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo....

. Islam probably came to these regions in the form of mystical Sufi tradition. Sufism easily gained local acceptance and became synthesized with local customs. The introduction of Islam to the islands was not always peaceful, however. As Islamized port towns undermined the waning power of the east Javanese Hindu/Buddhist Majapahit kingdom in the sixteenth century, Javanese elites fled to Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

, where over 2.5 million people kept their own version of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 alive. Unlike coastal Sumatra, where Islam was adopted by elites and masses alike, partly as a way to counter the economic and political power of the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms, in the interior of Java the elites only gradually accepted Islam, and then only as a formal legal and religious context for Javanese spiritual culture.

These historical processes gave rise to enduring tensions between orthodox Muslims and more syncretistic, locally based religion — tensions that were still visible in the early 1990s. On Java, for instance, this tension was expressed in a contrast between the traditionalist santri
Santri
The Santri are a cultural 'stream' of people within the population of Javanese who practice a more orthodox version of Islam, in contrast to the abangan classes....

and abangan
Abangan
Abangan refers to the population of Javanese Muslims who practice a more syncretic version of Islam than the more orthodox santri. The term, apparently derived from the Javanese word for red, was first developed by Clifford Geertz but the meaning has since shifted. Abangan are more inclined to...

, an indigenous blend of native and Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

-Buddhist beliefs with Islamic practices sometimes also called Javanism, kejawen, agama Jawa, or kebatinan. The terms and precise nature of this opposition were still in dispute in the early 1990s, but on Java santri not only referred to a person who was consciously and exclusively Muslim, it also described persons who had removed themselves from the secular world to concentrate on devotional activities in Islamic schools called pesantren—literally "the place of the santri".

In contrast to the Mecca-oriented philosophy of most santri, there was the current of kebatinan, which is an amalgam of animism, Hindu-Buddhist, and Islamic — especially Sufi — beliefs. This loosely organized current of thought and practice was legitimized in the 1945 constitution and, in 1973, when it was recognized as one of the agama, President Suharto counted himself as one of its adherents. Kebatinan is generally characterized as mystical, and some varieties were concerned with spiritual self-control. Although there were many varieties circulating in 1992, kebatinan often implies pantheistic worship because it encourages sacrifices and devotions to local and ancestral spirits. These spirits are believed to inhabit natural objects, human beings, artifacts, and grave sites of important wali (Muslim saints). Illness and other misfortunes are traced to such spirits, and if sacrifices or pilgrimages fail to placate angry deities, the advice of a dukun or healer is sought. Kebatinan, while it connotes a turning away from the militant universalism of orthodox Islam, moves toward a more internalized universalism. In this way, kebatinan moves toward eliminating the distinction between the universal and the local, the communal and the individual.

Another notable view is the division between traditionalist and modernist Islam. The nature of these differences was complex, confusing, and a matter of considerable debate in the early 1990s, but traditionalists generally rejected the modernists' interest in absorbing educational and organizational principles from the West. Specifically, traditionalists were suspicious of modernists' support of the urban madrasah, a reformist school that included the teaching of secular topics. Traditionalists also sought to add a clause to the first tenet of the Pancasila
Pancasila Indonesia
Pancasila is the official philosophical foundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Sanskrit words, "pañca" meaning five, and "sīla" meaning principles...

 state ideology requiring that, in effect, all Muslims adhere to the sharia
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

.

Despite these differences, the traditionalist Nahdlatul Ulama, the progressive Consultative Council of Indonesian Muslims (Masyumi), and two other parties were forcibly streamlined into a single Islamic political party in 1973—the United Development Party
United Development Party
The United Development Party , sometimes translated as Development Unity Party is a political party in Indonesia. It is an islamic party and currently led by Suryadharma Ali.-Origins:...

 (PPP). Such cleavages may have weakened Islam as an organized political entity, as demonstrated by the withdrawal of the Nahdlatul Ulama from active political competition, but as a popular religious force Islam showed signs of good health and a capacity to frame national debates.

Religious freedom


The Indonesian 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 these provisions; however, some restrictions exist on certain types of religious activity and on unrecognized religions.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs extends official status to six faiths: Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

, Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, and Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

. Religious organizations other than the six 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 faiths.
Although it has an 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, including influential social organizations such as Muhammadiyah and NU, reject 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. 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. This proved the case prior to the 2002 Annual Session of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), a body that has the power to change the Constitution. The nationalist political parties, regional representatives elected by provincial legislatures, and appointed police, military, and functional representatives, who together held a majority of seats in the MPR, rejected proposals to amend the Constitution to include Shari'a, and the measure never came to a formal vote. 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 a controversial education bill signed into law in July 2003.

Shari'a generated debate and concern during 2004, and many of the issues raised touched on religious freedom. Aceh
Aceh
Aceh is a special region of Indonesia, located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. Its full name is Daerah Istimewa Aceh , Nanggroë Aceh Darussalam and Aceh . Past spellings of its name include Acheh, Atjeh and Achin...

 remained the only part of the country where the central Government specifically authorized Shari'a. Law 18/2001 granted Aceh special autonomy and included authority for Aceh to establish a system of Shari'a as an adjunct to, not a replacement for, national civil and criminal law. Before it could take effect, the law required the provincial legislature to approve local regulations ("qanun") incorporating Shari'a precepts into the legal code. Law 18/2001 states that the Shari'a courts would be "free from outside influence by any side." Article 25(3) states that the authority of the court will only apply to Muslims. Article 26(2) names the national Supreme Court as the court of appeal for Aceh's Shari'a courts.

Aceh is the only province that has Shari'a courts. 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 fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

or hudud
Hudud
Hudud is the word often used in Islamic literature for the bounds of acceptable behaviour and the punishments for serious crimes...

,
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.

Because Muslims make up the overwhelming majority of Aceh's population, the public largely accepted Shari'a, which in most cases merely regularized common social practices. For example, a majority of women in Aceh already covered their heads in public. 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. The imposition of martial law in Aceh in May 2003 had little impact on the implementation of Shari'a. The Martial Law Administration actively promoted Shari'a as a positive step toward social reconstruction and reconciliation. 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.

There were no reports of forced religious conversion. This coincided with a continuing de-escalation of violence in the country's main areas of interreligious conflict: the eastern provinces of Maluku, North Maluku, and Central Sulawesi.

Some Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist holy days are national holidays. Muslim holy days celebrated include the Isra and Mi'raj
Isra and Mi'raj
The Isra and Mi'raj , are the two parts of a Night Journey that, according to Islamic tradition, the Islamic prophet Muhammad took during a single night around the year 621. It has been described as both a physical and spiritual journey...

, Idul Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Fitr, Id-ul-Fitr, or Id al-Fitr , often abbreviated to Eid, is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting . Eid is an Arabic word meaning "festivity," while Fiṭr means "breaking the fast"...

, Idul Adha
Eid ul-Adha
Eid al-Adha or "Festival of Sacrifice" or "Greater Eid" is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened to provide him with a sheep— to sacrifice...

, the Islamic New Year, and the Prophet's Birthday
Mawlid
Mawlid or sometimes ميلاد , mīlād is a term used to refer to the observance of the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad which occurs in Rabi' al-awwal,...

. National Christian holy days are Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 Day, Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

, Pentecost
Pentecost
Pentecost is a prominent feast in the calendar of Ancient Israel celebrating the giving of the Law on Sinai, and also later in the Christian liturgical year commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ after the Resurrection of Jesus...

, Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 and the Ascension of Christ. Three other national holidays are the Hindu holiday Nyepi
Nyepi
Nyepi is a Balinese "Day of Silence" that is commemorated every Isakawarsa according to Bali's calendar . It is a day of silence, fasting, and meditation. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New year.Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m...

, the Buddhist holiday Waisak, and Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an all East and South-East-Asia celebration...

, celebrated by Confucians and other Chinese. On 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, and in February, following the latest hajj, the Department of Religious Affairs drew sharp criticism for mismanaging the registration of approximately 30,000 prospective pilgrims after they had paid the required fees . The Government unilaterally expanded the country's quota of 205,000 pilgrims, claiming it had informal approval from the Saudi Government, an assertion that proved incorrect. Members of the House of Representatives have sponsored a bill to set up an independent institution, thus ending the department's monopoly.

Persecution of Ahmadis


The persecution of Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

, a sect that has been branded as heretical by mainstream Muslims, has increased in Indonesia over the past years. In the past, Islamic radicals have damaged mosques and other facilities belonging to Ahmadis in Indonesia. More recently, rallies have been held demanding that the sect be banned and some religious clerics have demanded Ahmadis to be killed. However, most Indonesians are moderates who tolerate other beliefs.