The World's Largest Muslim Country Goes to the Polls

The Indonesian Surprise

“Yet as Indonesia prepares for its third national parliamentary elections since then, to be held on April 9th, it has a fair claim to be South-East Asia’s only fully functioning democracy. Unfettered by Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté laws, or the fierce interpretations of what constitutes defamation in Singapore and Malaysia, the press is vibrant and free. Unlike Thailand’s army, which returned to politics with a coup in 2006, Indonesia’s has stayed back in the barracks. And unlike the Philippines, where elections dominated by guns, goons and gold lead to dozens of murders, Indonesia has enjoyed a largely peaceful campaign. Indonesia’s corruption rates probably still top regional charts, but the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made strides in attacking it.”

In the name of Allah , Most Gracious, Most Merciful

May Allah bless the Indonesian people with pious leader , give them peace & grant what is good for their hereafter , Ameen.

The Polls are Now Open

there are early reports of a clash between police and some separatists in Papua.

Are non-muslims allowed to vote?

Yes. Everyone 17 and over can vote. The population is about 90% Muslim, with most of the remaining 10% being Christian (split between Protestants and Catholics). But, there is also a small Hindu minority I believe.

I am glad that there are some examples of democracy in the Muslim world. I really am.

Now, with respect to Indonesia, are all people guaranteed the right to worship without being harrassed? Can churches be built freely? Are crimes against religious minorities investigated and punished?

Good questions. I know that historically, the group with the most cause to feel persecuted has been the ethnic Chinese. There were some sectarian Muslim on Christian violence in a few remote localities right after the dictator’s regime collapsed, but I don’t think that sort of thing is normal or accepted in Indonesia. Bali is majority Hindu and there are pockets of Christianity in Sumatra and elsewhere; I’ve never heard of them complaining of poor treatment (and I visited there in 1993); this is just speculation but it may be because of the relative isolation of one island from another and/or the generally easy-going nature of Islam as it is practiced in Indonesia.

When there is sectarian strife it is usually a local matter; the government for whatever reason has never been interested in imposing a particular religion on anyone, that I’m aware of (with the exception of the ethnic Chinese).

I know that we have had Indonesian posteres on here before. It seems like the “local” issue is a common one: if there is local violence against one faith or another, the national government does nothing about it.

I had heard about the ethnic Chinese having trouble, though

I read about Christians being killed quite often in Indonesia. The sickening part is when the muslims have beheaded school girls just because they are Christian. One of the articles talked about the Muslims being angry that some muslims actually got prison time for their beheading some Christian girls. Usually I read that they get what we call a ‘slap on the wrist’ when they commit crimes against non-believers. It is the usual junk we read about Muslim countries.

We see in mMslim countries crimes are not considered crimes if they are against the minority Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or others.

To me this is what happens when people are not able to disseminate information about Islam - they get overrun by Islam. There is indeed violence against the minority religious people in Indonesia. It goes back a few years and the radicalization of the Muslims there too. Attacks threatened in Indonesia

And I find the genocide of the Chinese to be disturbing. The Muslims are never held responsible for their poor behavior and if they have a vote that appears to be free - then we all clap and applaud. I wonder how free it really is. (I don’t wonder too much - with Islam I don’t see too much freedom at all)

I don’t have a good picture of Indonesia at all.

Indonesia’s Voters Retreat from Radical Islam

“Although final results from the election on April 9 will not be announced until next month, partial official results and exit polls by several independent companies indicate that Indonesians overwhelmingly backed the country’s major secular parties, even though more of them are continuing to turn to Islam in their private lives.”

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Latest news story on the Indonesian elections.

Just out of curiousity do you know what happened in East Timor (part of Indonesia), not so many years ago?

The people of East Timor suffered a great deal under Suharto’s dictatorship. This culminated with the death of about 1/6th (and possibly even more) of the East Timorese population in 1998-1999. Suharto, like many anti-communist dictators, was supported by the West throughout the Cold War (Suharto was in power for over three decades), and the West, including the United States, largely turned a blind eye to the mistreatment of the people of East Timor as well as to the authoritarian and ruthless nature of the Suharto regime generally, while selling him weapons and helping to train the Indonesian military. Fortunately the Suharto regime is now past, and Indonesia is trying to recover from decades of corruption and tyranny.

Which is pretty much where that quote picks up…

Yet as Indonesia prepares for its third national parliamentary elections since then, to be held on April 9th, it has a fair claim to be South-East Asia’s only fully functioning democracy. Unfettered by Thailand’s draconian lèse-majesté laws, or the fierce interpretations of what constitutes defamation in Singapore and Malaysia, the press is vibrant and free. Unlike Thailand’s army, which returned to politics with a coup in 2006, Indonesia’s has stayed back in the barracks. And unlike the Philippines, where elections dominated by guns, goons and gold lead to dozens of murders, Indonesia has enjoyed a largely peaceful campaign. Indonesia’s corruption rates probably still top regional charts, but the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has made strides in attacking it.

update on results…

Yudhoyono Wins Indonesia Election Vote

The official results from last month’s Parliamentary elections confirmed Mr Yudhoyono’s party has almost tripled its vote since 2004, by winning 20.85 per cent of the eligible votes cast.

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