More than 100 arrested and 2 publicly flogged as Indonesian authorities target gay men
- Jakarta police confirmed that 141 men had been rounded up at a sauna party and jailed, subject to pornography charges.
- In the conservative province of Aceh, two men, aged 20 and 23, were subject to public whippings after having been caught having sex, a new application of religious provincial law in a country that does not officially criminalize same-sex relations.
- Increased anti-gay sentiment in the country is seen as part of a rising wave of hardline Islamism in the country, which has in recent years been praised for its secular, relatively liberal social gains.
“Indonesian police arrest more than 140 men at alleged gay sauna party” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Two men publicly caned in Indonesia for having gay sex” (Reuters | May 2017)
“Indonesian men caned for gay sex in Aceh” (BBC News | May 2017)
(Image Credit: via BBC News)
Jakarta’s Christian governor of Chinese descent sentenced to prison for blasphemy
- Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, was sentenced to two years in prison after having accused political opponents of using a verse from the Qur’an to mobilize opposition to his re-election.
- His remarks drew massive protests in the Muslim-majority country and a religiously charged vote for the Jakarta governorship in April, where he lost to Muslim rival Anies Baswedan.
- Judges cited fundamentalist religious groups in the ruling, shocking observers with a prison sentence for Ahok because he “did not feel guilt.”
“Jakarta governor Ahok sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Jakarta’s Christian Governor Ahok jailed for two years for blasphemy” (The Sydney Morning Herald | May 2017)
“Jakarta’s former governor Ahok dropping appeal against jail sentence for blasphemy” (ABC | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Antara/Pool/Sigid Kurniawan, via The Jakarta Post)
Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World
Source: Al Jazeera YouTube
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas
Dutch government announces inquiry into violent twilight of colonialism in Indonesia
- Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced an investigation into the violent conflict between the Dutch military and Indonesians that took place from 1945 to 1949.
- The Dutch government has begun to admit to a host of war crimes during the colonial war including mass killings, torture, and summary executions, with the conflict having brought about the death of at least 100,000 Indonesians.
- Indonesia was a Dutch colony from 1800 to 1949 and is widely recognized as having contributed significantly to the contemporary wealth of the western European nation.
“Dutch cabinet agrees to fund research into violence in Indonesia” (DutchNews)
“Dutch government backs new inquiry into colonial Indonesia” (Reuters)
“Indonesian National Revolution Photos the Dutch Army Didn’t Want You to See” (The Creators Project, January 2016)
“Colonial atrocities explode myth of Dutch tolerance” (The Independent, May 1994)
(Image Credit: NIOD, via The Creators Project)
Pro-diversity mass demonstration takes place in Jakarta
- Known as the Bhineka Tunggal Ika (“Unity in Diversity”) Parade, the event brought hundreds of pro-diversity demonstrators out dressed in red and white (the national colors) and traditional dress to support ethnic and religious unity in the country.
- The peaceful event was a response to growing concerns about the influence of fundamentalist Islamic leaders in the Muslim-majority country.
- Recently, hundreds of thousands protested in a call for Jakarta’s governor, an ethnic Chinese Christian, to be charged with blasphemy, and an attack on a church in Samarinda left three children injured and one dead.
“Hundreds join Bhineka Tunggal Ika Parade” (The Jakarta Post)
“Thousands of Indonesians rally against racial, religious intolerance” (Reuters)
“Indonesia Says Jakarta’s Christian Governor Is Suspected of Blasphemy” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Wienda Parwitasari/The Jakarta Post)
The Unreported Rapes of Indonesia
A recent online survey conducted jointly by support group Lentera Sindas Indonesia, Indonesian magazine Magdalene, and Change.org indicated that more than 9 out of 10 respondents who had been raped had not reported the crime to authorities. The findings come as Indonesians have expressed outrage over the gang rape and murder of a teenage girl in April and ongoing sexual violence across the country. In response, the government has pledged to begin tracking and reporting data on sexual violence in the country.
Number of respondents
Number of respondents reporting having been raped
62.8% (cisgender women) / 37.1% (cisgender men) / 0.1% (all transgender people)
Breakdown by gender identity of respondents reporting having been raped
Percentage of respondents reporting having been raped who did not report the crime
Percentage of reported cases resulting in legal punishment
Percentage of respondents reporting having been verbally harassed
Percentage of respondents reporting having been physically assaulted
“Over 90 percent rape cases go unreported in Indonesia: poll” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
“93% of rape victims in Indonesia do not report the crime to the police: Survey” (Coconuts Jakarta)
“How a rape that was ignored angered Indonesia’s women” (BBC)
Exodus of wealthy immigrants tightens opportunity in Indonesia
- Domestic jobs have decreased and a number of international schools have shuttered as wealthy immigrants have left the country and arrivals have slowed.
- A slowdown in oil and gas demand has tightened the Indonesian economy and led to cutbacks in jobs that attract foreign workers.
- Fluctuating immigration policy has sent mixed messages to potential investors, including a foreign worker age cap of 55 in oil and gas, an Indonesian language requirement, an expansion of social security to include foreign workers, and the (now-defunct) requirement to hire 10 local workers for every immigrant.
“Empty houses and jobless maids: Indonesia’s expat exodus gathers pace” (Reuters)
“Indonesia Drops Visa Rules For Foreign Workers in Latest U-Turn” (Bloomberg, October 2015)
“Social Security Agency Opens Arms to Foreign Workers and International Organizations“ (JakartaGlobe)
(Image Credit: Bewiharta/Reuters)