The United Nations has recently spoken out against the Indonesian government's continued persecution of religious minorities, urging the government to translate universal human rights obligations into domestic law.
"A fundamental principle of international human rights is non-discrimination. This applies in all areas to all people," the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the U.N., Navanethem Pillay, said at a press conference at the United Nations Mission in Indonesia headquarters on Nov. 13, 2012.
"Indonesia has a rich culture and history of diversity and tolerance. At the same time, it risks losing this if firm action is not taken to address increasing levels of violence and hatred towards religious minorities and narrow and extremist-interpretations of Islam," the commissioner added. more >>
Alexander Aan, an Indonesian atheist who has endured a long court trial over his alleged Islamic dissidence, is currently appealing his prison sentence of two years and six months to the country's Supreme Court, arguing that the court has been unable to prove he purposefully spread anti-Islamic messages in order to incite societal dissidence.
"The ones who spread and cause hatred are the two witnesses, who told about Alexander's postings [declaring himself an atheist] on Facebook," Saputra Roni, Aan's lawyer and deputy director of the Padang Legal Aid Foundation, told The Jakarta Post.
Aan, 31, who was born Muslim but became an atheist at a young age, was arrested in January 2012 for posting on an atheist group's Facebook page a message that read: "God doesn't exist." more >>
The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has published a report warning the United States government that it should not be ignorant of the terror threat growing in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world.
The massive economic growth occurring in the region is likely to soon affect U.S. foreign policy - the Strait of Malacca is one of the world's most important strategic sea lanes where close to 40 percent of global trade takes place, linking Asia with the Middle East and Europe.
South-East Asia's largest terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which the United Nations has linked to Al-Qaida and the Taliban, have been kept under tight control in the region for years – but the WEA reveals in its report that the organization is growing in power.The report details several bombings and terroristic attacks in Asia that JL were linked to following the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks. more >>
A petition to President Barack Obama looking to highlight the plight of an Indonesian blogger jailed for writing "God doesn't exist," has not been able to gather enough signatures to warrant an official response from the White House.
The petition in support of the atheist needed to gather 25,000 signatures within 30 days to warrant a response from the White House, however, the number fell well short of the required mark.
"I'm disappointed -- not necessarily in other people for not signing the petition, but for Alexander Aan, who remains sitting in a jail cell merely for stating his position on religion," Michael De Dora, Director at the Office of Public Policy at the Center for Inquiry, who started the petition, shared with The Christian Post. more >>
JAKARTA, Indonesia – The number of violations of Christians' religious rights in Indonesia reached 40 in the first five months of the year, nearly two-thirds the amount of anti-Christian actions in all of last year, according to the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum.
The Christian minority in Indonesia faced 64 cases of violations of religious freedom last year, up from 47 in 2010, said Theophilus Bela, president of the group. Bela said he was worried about the growing incidence of violence and church closures, as his group recorded just 10 anti-Christian incidents in 2009. There were 40 such incidents in 2008, he said.
At least 22 churches have been forced to close this year, including 18 in the Singkil regency of Aceh Province that were sealed last month, as local authorities either sided with or came under pressure from extremist Islamist groups in this Southeast Asian archipelago that is home to the world's largest Muslim population, according to Bela. more >>
An Indonesian atheist who posted the message "God doesn't exist" on Facebook and started an atheist page now faces up to 11 years imprisonment for breaching the most populous Muslim nation's blasphemy laws.
Alex Aan, a 31-year-old civil servant, was beaten up by a mob of people in his hometown in Pulau Punjung after he posted the comment, which included an image of the prophet Muhammad, and was then arrested and charged for blasphemy. Although Indonesia has freedom of religion laws, those only apply to people of six faiths: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Confucianism.
The atheist is officially being charged with "insulting a major religion," which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence, but he might also get an additional six years for using the Internet to spread such "blasphemous" messages. It is believed that Aan is the first Indonesian to be tried under the state's philosophy, which requires belief in one God. The government does not allow for not believing in God, as noted in the U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Report. more >>