Rob Kerby, Senior Editor | 1:56pm Wednesday October 5, 2011
Islam’s most populous nation, Indonesia, is the most diverse nation imaginable — a far-flung archipelego of 13,466 islands where 238 million people speaking 742 languages live in everything from luxurious skyscraper penthouses to squalid cardboard slums, mountainside-hugging bamboo huts and rain-forest tree houses.
The government only recognizes six religions. Census figures show the population is overwhelmingly Muslim at 86.1 percent with 9 percent Christian (Catholic and Protestant combined), 3 percent Hindu, 2 percent Buddhist and 1 percent Confucianist.
And while freedom of religion is guaranteed by the national constitution, the minority religions complain of an official bias toward Islam, write university professors Moh Yasir Alimi and Salim H. Ali in separate articles in the Jakarta Post and the International Herald Tribune.
“Four men, traumatized, terrorized and stigmatized, sat in a Jakarta apartment and described to me how they were almost killed by a Muslim mob earlier this year,” writes Benedict Rogers of the London-based human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide in a guest column in the Wall Street Journal: