Indonesia Profile

253,609,643 (July 2014 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Javanese (40.6), Sundanese (15), Madurese (3.3), Minangkabau (2.7), Betawi (2.4), Bugis (2.4), Banten (2), Other (31.6)

Religion (%)
Muslim (87.2), Christian (9.9), Hindu (1.7), Other (0.9), Unspecified (0.4)

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

Government type

Legal system
Civil law system based on the Roman-Dutch model and influenced by customary law

Sources: CIA World Factbook and VOM-USA.


Indonesia has a stable and robust democracy. It has the largest Muslim population in the world and the fourth-largest population overall. By law, Indonesians may choose to follow any of five religions, including Christianity. In practice, however, Muslims receive preferential treatment. Islamic radicalism has increased in Indonesia, leading to sectarian violence and terrorism.

Christian groups in Indonesia have reported a surge in church attendance in recent years, a source of contention in the predominantly Sunni Muslim country. Recently, local governments have closed evangelical churches and imposed restrictions on church expansion. In addition, extremists have forcibly closed churches, sometimes with the tacit approval of local officials and police. Under a Joint Ministerial Decree issued in 1969 and revised in 2006, all religious groups in Indonesia must apply for permits to establish and operate places of worship; in practice, only non-Muslims must comply. Part of this law stipulates that a majority of neighbors in the area must agree to a church's existence. Permission is sometimes denied, and some previously approved churches have been closed after complaints from Muslims.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray specifically for continued growth of the Church in the midst of intense opposition and growing persecution.
  • Pray Christians, both national and expatriate, may use too-frequent natural disasters, like the 2004 tsunami, as opportunities to demonstrate the compassion of Christ.
  • Pray Islamists’ plans to eradicate Christians might be frustrated and come to ruin. Pray that what some intend for evil God will turn out for good. Pray the hatred and violence will discredit Muslim extremism and cause many persecutors to become believers.
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