What does persecution look like in Indonesia?
Indonesia has taken on a more conservative Islamic character in recent years, which can put pressure on Christians, especially those from Muslim backgrounds.
Indonesians brought up as Muslims who become Christian believers will likely face disapproval, intense pressure to return to Islam, verbal abuse and possibly social isolation. In some cases families will withdraw all support, and married women may keep their new faith secret to avoid the threat of their husbands divorcing them. Some women are faced with lots of psychological abuse, including death threats, for practising Christianity.
Thanks to effective anti-terror police, physical violence towards Christians by Islamic extremists is not common, but many new Christians in Indonesia will seek to leave their home community and relocate somewhere else to get away from the harassment.
If a church is seen to be preaching and spreading the gospel, they soon run into opposition from Islamic extremist groups, especially in rural areas. In some regions of Indonesia, non-traditional churches struggle to get permission for church buildings, with the authorities often ignoring their paperwork.
Who is most vulnerable to persecution?
Christians, particularly women, who have converted from Islam face the greatest risks and pressure.
The Province of Aceh is governed by Sharia (Islamic law). Churches were closed there on a large scale in October 2015 and the building of new churches is nearly impossible. Converts from Islam face the strongest pressure there.
“My mum tried to compel me to return to Islam. She hid the rice so that my family and I could not eat. Support from Open Doors provided us a new place to live and capital to start a business. Thank you. You have no idea how precious your help is to me.”Doni, a believer from a Muslim background, disapproved of by his family
What has changed this year?
The situation for Christians in Indonesia did not change very much in the past year. While the threat of violent attacks by Islamic extremists seems to have curbed, except for 'lone wolf' attacks, violence against Christians still takes place - including some faith-based murders.
Open Doors local partners strengthen persecuted Christians in Indonesia by providing Bibles and Christian books, socio-economic empowerment projects, discipleship and persecution survival training and relief aid.
- Please pray for a more open and tolerant society towards Christians in Indonesia
- Pray that God would comfort those rejected by their own families for His sake
- Pray for the Open Doors team helping displaced Christians find new homes and jobs.
Dear God, You are 'the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles' (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). May all those Christians experiencing rejection, discrimination or isolation for their faith know the depths of this comfort. We pray that family members would increasingly keep their hearts and minds open when one of their own comes to know You. Amen.