February 28, 2013

III. House of Worship Difficulties, Discrimination, and Violence

Human Rights Watch documented cases where members of religious minorities faced discrimination as a result of their faith in various administrative contexts, especially their ability to register marriages.

Attacks on Houses of Worship

The 2006 regulation on houses of worship has not improved the situation on the ground for religious minorities, who have difficulties obtaining permits to build places of worship and, in the worst cases, become targets of violence. According to the Indonesian Communion of Churches, 430 churches were forced to close between January 2005 and December 2010. [171]

Human Rights Watch documented at least 12 cases in which militant groups have used the 2006 decree to block the establishment of new houses of worship and to close 31 existing houses of worship. [172] Those groups have argued their efforts were justified because the minority congregations lacked building permits or allegedly used forged signatures from neighbors in obtaining permits, or because establishment of a house of worship would disturb harmonious relations among neighbors by offending religious sensibilities of the majority.

The 2006 decree can also be used against Muslims. Human Rights Watch documented one case in which Muslims faced problems constructing a mosque in predominantly Christian West Timor, and there are likely other such cases.

Even in cases where a permit is issued for a house of worship, vociferous responses from militant groups have caused local officials to rescind them or the groups prevent the applicants from constructing or using the building. The Indonesian government and local authorities routinely fail to take measures against the Islamist groups. At times local government officials have worked in collaboration with militant groups by cancelling building permits and taking up their call to encourage minority congregations to move to different areas.

Human Rights Watch documented sustained campaigns against two high-profile Christian churches, that of the GKI Yasmin church in Bogor, and the HKBP Filadelfia church in Bekasi, West Java. Both of these churches had not only secured all administrative documents and political approvals, but won Supreme Court challenges to secure their building permits. Despite these favorable court decisions, local government authorities denied building permits to the two churches.

GKI Yasmin, Bogor

The GKI Yasmin church in Bogor obtained necessary approvals and began constructing a church on land they owned in 2006. But a year and a half later, in February 2008, the Bogor City Planning Office suddenly froze GKI Yasmin’s building permit without providing a clear reason. According to Thomas Wadu Dara, the GKI Yasmin construction coordinator, Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto promised that it was only a temporary freeze in response to protests from Muslim activists.[173]

That same month, GKI Yasmin filed a lawsuit against the Bogor City Planning Office at the Bogor administrative court. Activists from Forkami, an Islamist organization based in Bogor, organized rallies against the church, saying that GKI Yasmin could not build the church on this location because it was on a street named after Muslim preacher Abdullah bin Nuh. Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto made the same argument.[174]

In September 2008, the Bogor administrative court held that the Bogor government had illegally frozen the building permit. The legal battle continued on to the West Java high court, the Supreme Court, and a review of the Supreme Court verdict in December 2010. All of the judgments were favorable to the church.[175]

The Bogor City Planning Office unfroze the building permit after the Supreme Court verdict. But a week later Mayor Budiarto revoked his recommendation for the building permit, producing another legal obstacle for GKI Yasmin’s building its church. GKI Yasmin reported the revocation to the Indonesian Ombudsman’s Office. In July 2011, the Ombudsman’s Office declared the mayor’s action to be “malpractice” because he demonstrated no “commitment to implement the Supreme Court verdict.”[176]

The Indonesian ombudsman asked Mayor Budiarto and West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan to implement the Supreme Court decision. Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi was also asked to supervise the implementation of the verdict.

Budiarto told the Indonesian Ulama Council that the GKI Yasmin matter was not an issue of religious freedom but purely about the building permit. He said he had offered GKI Yasmin “relocation” but they declined. “There is a small group of people who want to tarnish our image internationally,” he told the media. “The problem is actually small.”[177]

President Yudhoyono has said that the GKI Yasmin congregation has the right to worship, stating in a televised comment, “I've been pushing the mayor, the governor, local communities, to resolve the problem. I personally, and also the government, want the GKI Yasmin to be able to worship quietly and peacefully in Bogor.”[178] But he stopped short of saying that the Bogor mayor has to respect the Supreme Court verdict and that GKI Yasmin has the right to build their church. His spokesman said the president cannot interfere in local issues within the mayor’s authority.[179]

The church has continued to fight the Bogor mayor’s failure to implement the Supreme Court’s decision. Only one political party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, has been outspoken in criticizing the mayor’s actions.

HKBP Filadelfia, Bekasi

HKBP Filadelfia in Bekasi bought a plot of land in Jejalen Jaya village in June 2007. The church obtained 259 neighborhood approvals, more than the 60 signatures needed from the local community as required under the 2006 decree. In April 2008, the congregation wrote to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Religious Harmony Forum requesting approvals to build the church. Neither agency responded.[180]

The 2006 decree requires the local government to provide an alternative site if a congregation’s request is denied. [181] In Jejalen Jaya, where HKBP Filadelfia is located, the Bekasi government has provided no alternative, thus giving the congregation no place to worship.

As in the GKI Yasmin case, the church won successive legal actions against the Bekasi regent, from the Bandung administrative court up to the Supreme Court, which ruled in its favor in June 2011. But Bekasi Regent Sa’duddin refused to issue the building permit.

On March 20, 2012, the Bekasi government invited both HKBP Filadelfia and Haji Naimun’s group, which organized the protest against HKBP Filadelfia, to meet at the North Tambun district office. Deddy Rohendi, the head of the Bekasi regency legal division, admitted in a video recording that the Supreme Court decision was “final and legally binding.” But he said, “[T]he verdict is very difficult to implement. We’re afraid we will have a clash if we insist on doing it. The legal channel is not final.” Naimun and local officials, including North Tambun district head Suharto, pressured HKBP Filadelfia officials, saying that they could not guarantee the Christians’ safety if they keep trying to build the church. Suharto offered a “solution,” saying that HKBP Filadelfia could use the compound for two more weeks but then had to find another location.[182]

From Java to Timor, Closures of Houses of Worship

In Bekasi, outside Jakarta, Islamist groups have regularly campaigned against “illegal churches” and pressured the government to close them down, citing the regulation on house of worship construction. Asia Lumbantoruan, a 51-year-old Batak church elder, told Human Right Watch that between 1993 and 2007 his HKBP Ciketing church bought three plots of land and a house on Puyuh Raya Street to hold their Sunday services in and build a church. They always failed despite obtaining the requisite number of signatures from community members for their church building. They have faced continued intimidation, two arson attacks, and violence since their first procurement in 1993, from Islamists who tried to block their church construction. As a result they have had to move from house to house to conduct their Sunday service, a common cat-and-mouse game among thousands of Christians in Java to avoid the prohibition of use of private homes to worship.

In 2010, representatives of militant Islamist groups including the FPI appeared outside the worship site every Sunday with 300400 supporters to protest the services, which were being conducted in the open. According to Lumbantoruan, FPI members disturbed the service by bringing loud speakers and frightening the women and girls. They also attacked church members repeatedly.[183] The FPI accused the church of fraudulently obtaining the required neighborhood signatures and setting up an “illegal church.”[184]

FPI’s influence and its campaign continued to grow, and in January 2012, church activists reported seeing Murhali Barda, the FPI leader involved in the Ciketing protests, joining efforts to close three other churches in Kaliabang, north Bekasi district.[185] These three other churches were closed on February 12, 2012.[186]

According to Rev. Palti Panjaitan of HKBP Filadelfia church, Bekasi has 33 HKBP churches: 15 of them are located in Bekasi regency and 18 in Bekasi mayoralty. The 15 HKBP congregations in the regency have been denied permits, despite obtaining the relevant neighborhood approvals necessary under the 2006 decree but not permission from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and FKUB. Local authorities have consequently forced them to close their buildings and churchgoers have resorted to using private houses, shop-houses, restaurants, or office buildings to hold Sunday services. [187] In an attempt to prevent even private worship by Batak churches, Islamist websites have branded them “illegal churches.” [188]

The Bekasi mayoralty on February 12, 2012, sealed three churches following pressure from FPI Bekasi: the Indonesian Church of Christ Loving (Gereja Kristus Rahmani Indonesia, GKRI), HKBP Kaliabang, and the Pentecost Church.[189] When closing down the three churches, the Bekasi FKUB’s ’secretary, Hasnul Khalid, said his office had recorded 260 houses of worship without permits in Bekasi, calling on these 260 congregations to immediately obtain permits.[190]

Jaendar Gultom of HKBP Kaliabang, Bekasi, admitted that his church had no permit, believing none was necessary when it was built inside a Batak-dominated Christian neighborhood in 2003. But the Bekasi mayoralty closed down his church as well as two neighboring churches in February 2012. Gultom told Human Rights Watch:

Now we do our Sunday service outside our church building. We built a tent and took our chairs, altar, and other equipment out. It’s strange that we have a building but we cannot use it. We have to be patient. We’re applying for the permit now. It might take a long time. We have to be patient.[191]

Alexander Adrian Makawangkel of the Santo Joannes Baptista church in Parung, Bogor regency, has tried to get a permit for his church since his congregation bought land for the church in 1993. They still have no approval from the government. He told Human Rights Watch:

We applied for our church permit, getting more than the required signatures, lobbying various government bodies. We’ve been doing it for more than 15 years. We still haven’t got it.[192]

In November 2010, Bogor Regent Rachmat Yasin issued a letter to the St. Joannes Baptista church in Parung asking the church to stop using the land for worship purposes.[193] At the same time, he wrote another letter to the Director General of Human Rights at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights in Jakarta. Yasin said that the church had not met the requirement under the 2006 decree for building a church and that Muslim organizations in Parung had protested the building of the church.[194]

According to Rev. Gomar Gultom, secretary general of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia and himself a HKBP pastor, in Java it is relatively easy to get signatures from at least 60 Muslim neighbors to obtain a permit. But obtaining approval from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and FKUB can be very tough. In several Muslim-majority areas, both agencies are usually controlled, directly or indirectly, by individuals who see Christianity as a threat. They see the construction of new churches as a threat to their political status. This has occurred with HKBP Filadelfia and the Santo Joannes Baptista churches, which secured enough neighborhood signatures but failed to obtain the letter of approval from the two agencies.

In sparsely populated areas like eastern Sumatra, the challenge is very different. Abjon Sitinjak, whose Pentecostal church in Kuantan Singingi, Riau, was burned down, told Human Rights Watch:

How could we ask Muslims to sign for the permit? The closest Muslim family lives around 500 meters from our church. The next one is about two kilometers. How could we find 60? That decree might work in urban areas. But it’s impossible to implement inside a plantation.[195]

In May 2012, in Singkil, southern Aceh, FPI militants adopted the same approach, protesting against “illegal” churches and demanding that the government close them down. It produced quick results. In less than a week, the Singkil government sealed 19 churches and one native-faith house of worship. All of these houses of worship were actually built before the 2006 decree; some were even established during Dutch or Japanese rule. [196]

Christian churches are not the only group to encounter problems under the decree. A Wikileaks cable released in August 2011, but dated January 2007, states that several Indonesian Hindu leaders told the US Embassy in Jakarta that the 2006 house of worship decree made it difficult for non-Muslims to build new places of worship due to obstruction from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the FKUB.[197]

I Made Erata, the chairman of the Indonesian Hindu Community (Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, PHDI), told Human Rights Watch that given the restrictive climate for Hindus in Indonesia, his organization was forced to find new places to build temples. PHDI decided to establish new temples inside police or military complexes, cooperating with Balinese Hindus who serve in the police or military institutions.”[198]

Human Rights Watch found at least one case in which a Muslim minority community experienced difficulties in building a mosque. Since 2002, Muslim families in Batuplat, Alak district, Kupang, on Timor island in East Nusa Tenggara province, have faced difficulties in building a mosque due to protests from Christians in the predominantly Christian area. Some Christian groups protested the Muslim community using a building they owned for Friday prayers. Subsequently, the mosque committee and the Kupang government, following the procedures set forth under the 2006 decree, agreed that the Kupang government would provide an alternative site.

After months of negotiations, in 2008, the Kupang government bought land as an alternative site about 600 meters away from the first site. After obtaining the requisite number of signatures from Muslim and Christian residents, both the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Kupang and the FKUB approved the building of the mosque.[199] Kupang Mayor Daniel Adoe signed the building permit and laid the first stone on June 24, 2010.[200]

However, continued protests from Christian congregations in Batuplat, particularly the Evangelical Church in Timor (Gereja Masehi Injili di Timor, GMIT), the largest church in Timor, have led to the suspension of mosque construction. Rev. Judith Nunuhitu-Folabessy of a GMIT congregation in Batuplat said, “Our Christian brothers and sisters in Java have to obey the 2006 regulation. We want that regulation to be implemented here as well. If we don’t want to follow that regulation to the letter, then it should not be implemented that way in other parts of Indonesia.”[201]

Attack on Shia Boarding School

Human Rights Watch documented a 2011 attack by Sunni militants on a Shia boarding school in Bangil, near Surabaya, East Java. Bangil, an important town for Indonesia's Shia community, has an elite Shia school called the Islam Pesantren Foundation (Yayasan Pesantren Islam, YAPI), which runs a kindergarten, primary school, middle school, and two high schools. [202] On February 15, 2011, more than 200 militants entered YAPI and destroyed school property. In the course of defending themselves, nine teenage students were injured.

Harassment against the YAPI school dates back to 2007. In November 2007, the head of the Sunni al-Bayyinat Foundation in Surabaya, Thohir al Kaff, delivered a sermon in Bangil calling on the audience “to cleanse” Bangil of its Shia members.[203] Following the sermon, a group attacked the school, throwing stones, shouting at teachers and kicking the doors. No one was ever arrested or charged for this attack.

There were four more attacks on the school in 2010 and 2011. According to police reports and YAPI school officials, a Bangil mosque had organized weekly anti-Shia sermons on Wednesday evenings and broadcast them via public radio with speakers from the Sunni group Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah group and other Sunni clerics.

Members of the YAPI school administration told Human Rights Watch that they believe the militants who attacked the school attended these regular gatherings at the Bangil mosque.

According to a police report, on December 19, 2010, three bullets struck windows of the YAPI female student dormitory.[204] The school believes it was an anti-Shia attack. On February 12 and 14, 2011, unknown individuals stoned the YAPI female student dormitory, breaking tiles, the ceiling, and a window.[205]

Then, on the afternoon of February 15, 2011, approximately 200 men on motorcycles attacked the YAPI school, throwing stones, smashing windows, and destroying a security guard post. Teenage students, who were playing soccer in a nearby field, attempted to defend their school. Human Rights Watch has seen a video recording of the incident in which several men make anti-Shia comments such as “Syiah Laknatulloh” (Shia is condemned by Allah).

An 18-year-old YAPI student told Human Rights Watch:

I was playing computer when I heard the noise. I went out and saw about 20of them inside the school, smashing windows and destroying the guard post. I summoned my classmates. About 30 students came out. We used everything, stones, sticks. It was about 30 minutes until the police arrived and fired warning shots.[206]

The attackers left after the police fired warning shots, but the incident left nine students injured, four seriously that they required hospitalization. One suffered permanent eye damage. [207]

The February 2011 attack received considerable media attention and prompted police to arrest and file cases against six men with the Sidoarjo district court. The six men said they were members of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah group. The Sidoarjo court found them guilty for using violence against the students. They were sentenced to three months and 21 days in prison. “This punishment is a warning so that the convicts won’t repeat their crime," said Chief Judge Sutjahjo Padmo Wasono.[208]

Prosecutions under Blasphemy and Conversion Laws

Blasphemy and conversion laws have been used to impose criminal penalties on members of religious minorities in violation of their rights to freedom of religion and expression. Bakor Pakem (The Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society) has been particularly aggressive in pressuring the authorities to bring blasphemy prosecutions in recent years.

In Dharmasraya, West Sumatra, Bakor Pakem led the prosecution of Alexander An, an administrator of the “Minang Atheist” Facebook group. He was eventually acquitted of blasphemy but in June 2012 the Sijunjung court sentenced him to two-and-a-half years in prison and a fine of IDR100 million (around US$11,000), for inciting public unrest via his Facebook account.

Shia followers have also been targeted. For years, Islamist Sunnis actively campaigned against the Shia community in Sampang regency, Madura, and against its cleric, Tajul Muluk. In July 2012, Muluk was convicted on blasphemy charges and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. A higher court later changed the sentence to four years imprisonment.

On January 1, 2012, the Indonesian Ulama Council in Sampang issued a fatwa, blaming what it calls “the teaching of Tajul Muluk” as a blasphemy against Islam and demanding the government prosecute Muluk.[209]

Ulamas from East Java went to Jakarta in January 2012 to urge the Indonesian Ulama Council to issue an anti-Shia fatwa, arguing that Shia Islam in East Java had created unrest and endangered “religious harmony in Indonesia.”[210] The delegation also met with the House of Representatives and Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali, after which Ali publicly stated, “Shia is against Islam. Shia is heretical. Anyone who thinks that Shia is not heretic is himself a heretic.”[211] These public actions also increased the pressure on police to investigate allegations of blasphemy against Shia.

On January 4, 2012, the Sampang chief prosecutor, Danang Purwoko Adji Susesno, as a member of Bakor Pakem, called on the Attorney General’s Office to ban “Tajul Muluk’s teachings” and stated in a letter that his Sampang office would press blasphemy charges against Muluk. Susesno made various claims about Tajul Muluk’s teachings and why they were contrary to Islam.[212] The authorities questioned Tajul Muluk in February 2012, and charged him with blasphemy and “unpleasant misconduct” on April 24, 2012.

The Sampang court sentenced him for blasphemy to two years in prison in July 2012.[213] In September 2012, the East Java high court had his sentence changed to four years. He appealed again and the Supreme Court kept the four years punishment in January 2013.[214]

Bakor Pakem also played a role in initiating the blasphemy prosecution of Andreas Guntur, the leader of the spiritual group Amanat Keagungan Ilahi, who was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in March 2012 by the Klaten court, Central Java, for alleged unconventional Islamic teachings.

In October 2010, Antonius Richmond Bawengan, a controversial preacher from Jakarta, distributed a leaflet about the three Abrahamic religions (offering his own interpretations of Judaism’s Yahweh, Christianity’s Jesus Christ, and Islam’s Allah). His leaflet angered Muslims in Temanggung, Central Java, prompting police to arrest him. On February 8, 2011, the Temanggung court convicted Bawengan of blasphemy and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment for his distribution of the leaflets.

In Sukadana, a small town in Lampung province, Sumatra, a court convicted two Baha’i members, Syahroni and Iwan Purwanto, of “trying to convert” Muslim children to the Baha’i faith. The East Lampung district court in November 2010 sentenced the two men to five years in prison. They appealed but the Lampung high court reinstated the district court verdict in January 2011. The defendants have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

According to court documents, in April 2010, Riza Fadilla’s Baha’i uncle, Iwan Purwanto, asked his nephew to tutor his seven-year-old son. The nephew agreed to tutor him, and the class eventually grew to include another Baha’i boy and 14 Muslim children, mostly of primary school age, as well as three other tutors, including a Muslim teenager.[215] The group studied on Sundays on the second floor of a shop house in the Sidorejo market, Sekampung Udik district, belonging to local Baha’i leader Syahroni.

Syahroni and Iwan Purwanto were accused of attempting to covert Muslim children to the Baha’i faith.[216] Eventually, prosecutors charged the two but not under the blasphemy law. Instead, they used article 86 of the 2002 Child Protection Act, which states, “whoever converts or attempts to convert children to other religion will be charged up to five years prison or fine of 100 million rupiah or both.” The two men are being detained at Sukadana prison, awaiting their appeal.[217]

Prosecutions under the 2008 Anti-Ahmadiyah Decree

The Jemaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia, the national organization for Ahmadis, has reported that at least 33 Ahmadiyah mosques have been vandalized, sealed, occupied, or forced to close by the local authorities, since the Indonesian government issued its anti-Ahmadiyah decree in June 2008. In some cases, Islamist militants have closed the mosques themselves, with police failing to act or actively siding with the militants.[218]

In Bekasi mayoralty, Islamists unsuccessfully urged local officials to shut down the mosque in the Pondok Gede neighborhood, the only Ahmadiyah mosque in the city. They then called on the acting Bekasi mayor, Rahmat Effendi, to adopt a provincial decree. The decree, adopted on October 13, 2011, stated that the Ahmadiyah members and their organization should stop “all activities,” including “proselytizing, telling stories, recommending or other acts which imply of proselytizing.”[219]

Rahmat Rahmadijaya, the Ahmadiyah imam in Bekasi, told Human Rights Watch that a week earlier, on November 4, 2011 at 7:30 a.m.:

[T]he MUI came here and asked us not to use the mosque for the sake of our own security. But our right to worship is our business with God, no one has the right to stop us. They said, “What if [a provocateur] comes with here with FPI? What will you do?”
I said we will have a dialogue. We will talk quietly and explain to them we have the right to worship. The MUI left and the police and troops came at 9 a.m. They let us have the Friday prayer but told us we should be fast. We have seen the same pattern for the last three Fridays. [The protesters] hope the MUI can persuade us not to worship. Usually after Friday prayers we stay to socialize with each other, but now security asks us to be quick.

Rahmat Rahmadijaya showed Human Rights Watch the cell phone text messages he had received from unknown persons, suggesting that Islamist groups in the area were mobilizing against the Ahmadiyah:

  • “Eliminate Ahmadiyah from Pondok Gede”
  • “Unite our force”
  • “Get Ready”
  • “Close all activities if no government decision by Friday. All Muslims, let’s go down to the location and make it very clear.”[220]

Titik Sartika, the head of the mosque’s women’s division, told Human Rights Watch:

We get nervous every time we go to the mosque, especially those with children. We’re afraid to bring them. We also have Sunday school, which now is done home-to-home. We are very afraid. The women often don’t come to pray if we see people in white robes [FPI].[221]

Rahmadijaya described how conditions have deteriorated in recent years:

Prior to 2005, even non-Ahmadiyah Muslims prayed here. We’ve been here for 22 years. We have never faced these problems before. We are a part of this community. Now we are vilified. The problems started in 2005 after the MUI fatwa. Things got worse after the 2008 decree and got intimidating since the Bekasi decree.

The Ahmadiyah members are afraid to legally challenge the Bekasi mayor’s decree. “The decree only limits our activities, the preaching, but in terms of worship, it did not ban it,” said Rahmadijaya.[222] However, Islamist groups have misinterpreted the decree and used it to call for the mosque’s closure.

In Cianjur, about three hours’ drive south of Jakarta, the Ahmadiyah community has faced intimidation and harassment since West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan, himself an MUI board member and a PKS politician, issued an anti-Ahmadiyah decree on March 2, 2011, which bans “all Ahmadiyah proselytizing activities.”[223]

Hafiz, the head of a small Ahmadiyah mosque in Cipeuyeum, Cianjur, told Human Rights Watch that he received a phone call from the local military officer informing him of the governor’s decree and that harassment soon followed. On March 17, 2011, about 100 men appeared in the Cipeuyeum mosque. Two Ahmadiyah men were coerced to sign a statement saying that the Ahmadiyah would no longer use the mosque for prayer or meetings. But in December 2011, the Ahmadiyah members started quietly using the mosque again. [224]

On February 17, 2012, Hasan Suwandi, the mosque’s guard, was alone when a mob surrounded the mosque. They brought down the iron fence, using sledge hammers, crowbars, and iron bars to tear down the mosque. Suwandi told Human Rights Watch:

I immediately ran away from the parsonage with my grandson. But I forgot to turn off the stove. So I returned again and turned off the stove. It was very quick, about 30 minutes, when they brought down the roof. Police and military officers only arrived when the mosque was already torn down.[225]

Harassment of Ahmadiyah School Children

Members of the Ahmadiyah community told Human Rights Watch that their children have suffered harassment at public school from their teachers and administrators. The extent of the problem is difficult to measure but anecdotal evidence suggests that it is deeply rooted. In Cianjur and Cikeusik, both located in western Java, Human Rights Watch documented cases where Islamic studies teachers verbally abused Ahmadiyah students because of their faith or preached anti-Ahmadiyah rhetoric that stoked harassment.

An Ahmadiyah mother of a 17-year-old from Cikeusik described to Human Rights Watch the ongoing harassment her son endured from his boarding school in Malingping, near Cikeusik, Banten. Another son and her niece, both studied in a neighboring high school, did not get school transfer documents when their families were forced to leave Cikeusik. She told Human Rights Watch:

The teacher said, “Ahmadiyah is false. They should be eliminated.” He called my son a heretic. My son is a quiet boy. He just listened. The teacher said, “Ahmadiyah is tarnishing Islam.” Later the school principal would not allow him to come with me when we moved to Jakarta. They refused to sign the school transfer letter and they kept his report cards.[226]

Ismael Suparman, the Ahmadiyah imam in Cikeusik, said five of seven Ahmadiyah students did not get their transfer cards when their families were forced to flee Cikeusik in February 2011. “I had to send my four children to go with their [Filipina] mother to Zamboanga City, Mindanao, [in the Philippines] so that they could go to school,” said Suparman. [227]

In Sukadana, Cianjur, an Ahmadiyah teacher told Human Rights Watch that Ahmadiyah students and teachers faced repeated harassment for their faith. In July 2011, an inspector from the Ministry of Education visited her district and in a speech to around 200 teachers said that all schools and teachers must obey the 2008 anti-Ahmadiyah decree. In what the teacher described to Human Rights Watch as “veiled threats,” the inspector told the teachers that the decree orders Ahmadis to “stop activities which deviate from the principal teachings of Islam” and noted that the crimes carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. [228]

Five Ahmadiyah elementary and middle school students in Sukadana, West Java, told Human Rights Watch they were bullied by classmates who were encouraged by discriminatory statements from their teachers. An eighth grader said he was beaten by his classmates after the weekly anti-Ahmadiyah speech by their religious teacher. “I reported it to my parents. I’m afraid to report the beating to the school. I’m afraid the teachers will report my parents to Garis,” he said, referring to the Islam Reform Movement (Gerakan Reformis Islam, Garis), a militia group frequently involved in anti-Ahmadiyah campaigns in Cianjur regency.[229]

Discriminatory Administrative Policies

In Indonesia, state discrimination on the basis of religion extends beyond the building of churches, mosques, and temples. Various government regulations discriminate against religious minorities, ranging from the provision of ID cards, birth and marriage certificates, and access to other government services. For instance, local officials in Kuningan regency, West Java province, denied an Ahmadiyah man the ability to register his marriage because of his religion.[230] Two Baha’i families in Sukadana, Lampung, reported that government officials forced them to list “Islam” as their official religion on their ID cards, birth and marriage certificates.[231]

Human Rights Watch also interviewed Dewi Kanti, a Sundanese woman, a follower of the Sunda Wiwitan native faith, who married a Javanese Catholic man. The civil registration office refused to accept the marriage because they did not recognize her religion. If they have children, the babies’ birth certificates will not list the father’s name.[232] Without proper birth certificates, the children will be considered “bastards” under the law, incurring the attendant social pressures.[233]

The Bakor Pakem office in West Java has refused to recognize Sunda Wiwitan wedding ceremonies since 1964 and even detained a Sunda Wiwitan priest (the father of Dewi Kanti) for three months in 1964 for officiating at the marriage of five Wiwitan couples.[234]

Kanti herself married her husband, a Javanese faith believer, in a Catholic church, in March 2002. She told Human Rights Watch:

My husband chose Catholic as his official religion. But he’s practicing his Kejawen faith. If we insisted to marry with our own religions, we won’t have birth certificates for our children, at least, without my husband’s name. The stripe in our ID cards creates another stigma in Indonesia.[235]

All Indonesian citizens must obtain a national ID card at age 17. The document is essential for conducting basic transactions like opening a bank account, obtaining a driver’s license, entering university, obtaining employment, or collecting a pension. It is also needed to apply for birth, marriage, and death certificates.

Starting in 1978, the Home Affairs Ministry required all citizens to state their religion on the card, providing five options: Islam, Catholic, Protestant, Hinduism and Buddhism (omitting Confucianism, a previously recognized religion that was discriminated against during Suharto’s rule).[236]

As a result, people from hundreds of smaller native faiths like Kejawen (Javanese), Wiwitan (Sunda), Kaharingan (Dayak), Parmalin (Batak), and followers of religions like Judaism, Sikhism, and Confucianism, were forced to choose one of the six religions when they applied for an ID card.[237] Couples of mixed religions also had extra difficulties in getting married because their ID cards showed their different religions.[238]

In 2006, the Indonesian parliament passed the Population Administrative Law, which states that an individual is no longer required to list their religion on their ID card.[239] But the reality is very different. Many civil servants still do not know of the new law. Religious minorities face problems if they refuse to choose one of the six religions that these officials recognize. “They simply say you’re a godless woman if you want to keep the column blank,” said Dewi Kanti, the Sunda Wiwitan believer, whose ID card has a blank space after “religion.”[240]

In Manis Lor, Kuningan regency, the biggest Ahmadiyah village on Java, a 34-year-old Ahmadiyah man told Human Rights Watch that young Ahmadiyah couples in the area faced significant administrative obstacles to getting married. There are approximately 3,000 Ahmadiyah families in Manis Lor, located 45 kilometers south of Cirebon, a major city in West Java. Young couples often need to go to Cirebon or Jakarta to register for marriage, having to stage a fake relocation and re-register with new ID cards in the new location, because Kuningan authorities refuse to marry Ahmadiyah couples.

The man said that on attempting to register his marriage in Manis Lor in 2010, the Kuningan authorities informed him that the Kuningan government had officially instructed the Islamic Affairs office in Manis Lor not to register any Ahmadiyah marriage. He was forced to marry elsewhere:

I had also to conduct my wedding quietly with very few family members. We’re afraid the neighbors would report our marriage.[241]

In Sukadana, Lampung, on Sumatra, Human Rights Watch interviewed two Baha’i families who were not able to obtain ID cards and birth certificates. One of the families was unable to obtain a correct birth certificate for their child.

Riyon Irfanus, a 26-year-old bicycle shop owner, said he had gone to the Sukadana administration office, asking for a new ID card but the official denied him one:

They initially printed Islam as my religion. I refused that card and insisted that I wanted to have Baha’i as my religion. I don’t want to live a lie. They didn’t want to do that. I returned again and again over the next five months. They finally told me to go to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. If [the ministry] agreed, the administration office would print my ID card.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs told him that they were not authorized to deal with the ID card, and to date Riyon said that he has no ID card and has had difficulties obtaining a marriage certificate. Riyon said in order to register his child’s birth certificate he had to register as a Christian because the Civil Registration Office refused to print Baha’i as his religion. [242]

In practice, members of religious minorities often find they are in a catch-22. If the religion column is left blank, which is legally possible in accordance with the 2006 Population Administration Law, government officials accuse them of being an atheist–which is punishable under the blasphemy law. If they select one of the six religions now offered, regardless of their own religious beliefs, they can be accused of falsifying their identity. “The ID card is our daily challenge,” said Soesiana Tri Ekawati, a national Baha’i leader in Jakarta, adding that many Baha’i members have been pressured by government officials to select the Islam option in Muslim-majority areas, or the Christianity option in Christian-majority areas.[243]

[171] Human Rights Watch interview with Jeirry Sumampauw, an official of the Communion of Churches (PGI) in Indonesia, in charge of compiling annual reports about various abuses against Christians, Jakarta, September 7, 2011. PGI provided Human Rights Watch with the lists. Some websites keep the annual list of churches that were destroyed, burned, vandalized, or their construction blocked. See Sitekno, http://st291735.sitekno.com/page/36867/tahun-2005.html (accessed June 25, 2012). Another site has kept the list of these churches since 1969: Faith Freedom, http://indonesia.faithfreedom.org/forum/daftar-penghancuran-gereja-foto2-mengenaskan-t94/ (accessed June 25, 2012).

[172] The 12 cases include GKI Yasmin (Bogor city); HKBP Getsemane in Jati Mulya area (Bekasi regency); HKBP Pondok Timur Indah in Ciketing area (Bekasi city); HKBP Kaliabang (Bekasi city); GKRI (Bekasi city); Pentecostal Church in Kaliabang (Bekasi city); St. Joannes Baptista church in Parung (Bogor regency); Batak Karo Protestant Church (Logas Tanah Darat district, Kuantan Singingi regency); Pentecostal Church in Indonesia (Kuantan Singingi regency); Methodist Church in Indonesia (Kuantan Singingi regency); and the Batuplat mosque (Kupang). Human Rights Watch also documented the case of closing 19 churches and 1 native-faith houses in Singkil, Aceh, in May 2012.

[173] Human Rights Watch interview with Thomas Wadu Dara, the GKI Yasmin construction coordinator, September 11, 2011.

[174] “Churches Can’t Be Built in Streets With Islamic Names: Bogor Mayor,” Jakarta Globe, August 19, 2011, http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/churches-cant-be-built-in-streets-with-islamic-names-bogor-mayor/460241 (accessed July 22, 2012). Muhammad Mustofa, whose father is the street’s namesake, stated openly that he has no objection to the GKI Yasmin church.

[175] “Supreme Court decision on GKI Yasmin No. 127/PK/TUN/2009” dated December 9, 2010.

[176] Recommendation No. 0011/REK/0259.2010/BS-15/VII/2011 on the GKI Yasmin petition signed by Danang Girindrawardana, chairman of the Ombudsman’s Office of the Republic of Indonesia, July 8, 2011.

[177] “Walikota Bogor: Saya Terima 3 Karung Surat,” Vivanews, November 15, 2012 ,http://metro.vivanews.com/news/read/264289-walikota-bogor--saya-terima-3-karung-surat (accessed June 25, 2012).

[178] “Lagi, SBY Dorong Kasus GKI Yasmin Dituntaskan,” Kompas, February 15, 2012, http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2012/02/15/14325169/Lagi.SBY.Dorong.Kasus.GKI.Yasmin.Dituntaskan (accessed June 25, 2012).

[179] “President can't interfere in GKI Yasmin dispute, spokesman says,” The Jakarta Post, February 6, 2012, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/02/06/president-cant-interfere-gki-yasmin-dispute-spokesman-says.html (accessed May 25, 2012).

[180] Panjaitan, Palti, “Kronologi Permasalahan HKBP Filadelfia Tambun Bekasi,” March 26, 2012, http://www.andreasharsono.net/2012/03/gereja-hkbp-filadelfia.html (accessed June 25, 2012).

[181] The 2006 decree art.14 (3).

[182] Ferry Putra, “Pemerintah Berbulu Domba,” April 11, 2012, http://vimeo.com/40148064 (accessed June 25, 2012).

[183] Human Rights Watch interview with Asia Lumbantoruan, Bekasi, September 13, 2011.

[184]  “Klarifikasi FPI Bekasi Raya Atas Insiden HKBP,” Front Pembela Islam, September 16, 2010, http://fpi.or.id/?p=detail&nid=219 (accessed February 3, 2012).

[185] Human Rights Watch interview with Demak Simanjuntak of HKBP Kaliabang, Bekasi, February 9, 2012. Three other church workers separately also saw Barda Muali in the Kaliabang area.

[186] “Tiga Gereja di Bekasi Disegel,” Metro TV, February 11, 2012, http://metrotvnews.com/read/news/2012/02/11/81585/Tiga-Gereja-di-Bekasi-Disegel/6 (accessed March 3, 2012).

[187] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Rev. Panjaitan, February 2, 2012.

[188] “Umat Islam Bekasi: Tertibkan Gereja Liar dan Hentikan Kristenisasi!” Voice of al Islam, November 28, 2011, http://www.voa-islam.com/news/indonesiana/2011/11/28/16841/umat-islam-bekasi-tertibkan-gereja-liar-dan-hentikan-kristenisasi/ (accessed March 3, 2012).

[189] “Tiga Gereja di Bekasi Disegel,” Metro TV, February 11, 2012, http://metrotvnews.com/read/news/2012/02/11/81585/Tiga-Gereja-di-Bekasi-Disegel/6 (accessed March 3, 2012).

[190] “260 Rumah Ibadah di Bekasi Terancam Disegel,” Antara, February 12, 2012, http://www.suarapembaruan.com/home/260-rumah-ibadah-di-bekasi-terancam-disegel/16995 (accessed July 23, 2012).

[191] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Jaendar Gultom, Bekasi, June 25, 2012.

[192] Human Rights Watch interview with Alexander Adrian Makawangkel, Parung, January 22, 2012.

[193] Letter No. 453.2/556-Huk on November 30, 2010 signed by Bogor regent Rachmat Yasin.

[194] Letter No. 453.2/557-Huk on November 30, 2010 signed by Bogor regent Rachmat Yasin.

[195] Human Rights Watch interview with Abjon Sitinjak, Taluk Kuantan, October 22, 2011.

[196] On June 7-13, 2012, a delegation of Singkil churches visited Jakarta. They also met Human Rights Watch and presented a 50-page document entitled “The Closure of 20 Houses of Worship in Aceh Singkil Regency.” The Singkil government sealed these houses of worship on May 1, May 3 and May 8, 2012. The oldest church, GKPPD Kuta Kerangan, was built in 1932 during Dutch colonial rule. Some were built during the Japanese occupation in 1942-45. The newest one, the Indonesian Evangelical Mission Church (Gereja Misi Injili Indonesia, GMII), was built in 2003.

[197] Wikileaks, “Hindus Lament "Islamization" of Indonesia,” based on leaked US Embassy cable, uploaded on Wikileaks website on Aug. 30, 2011, http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/02/07JAKARTA268.html (accessed March 2, 2012).

[198] Human Rights Watch interview with I Made Erata, Jakarta, September 13, 2011.

[199] Recommendation letter from Religious Harmony Forum No. 025/FKUB/KK/VI/2010 signed by Rev. Hendrik NE Malelak.

[200] “Chronology” of the Nur Musafir mosque case provided by the Wahid Institute (undated). Copy on file at Human Rights Watch.

[201] Human Rights Watch interview with Rev. Judith Nunuhitu-Folabessy in Batuplat, Kupang, January 16, 2012.

[202] In 1976, a Shia cleric, Husein al-Habsyi, established the Islam Pesantren Foundation (Yayasan Pesantren Islam, YAPI) . Its Al-Ma’hadul Islami high school was considered to be a class-A school by the Islamic Education Accreditation Office in East Java (Badan Akreditasi Provinsi Sekolah/Madrasah Jawa Timur) http://www.ban-sm.or.id/provinsi/jawa-timur/akreditasi/view/190601 (accessed November 21, 2011)

[203]  Audio recording of the sermon, undated, provided to Human Rights Watch.

[204] See Police report No. STPL/70/XII/2010/Jatim/Res Pas/Sek Bgl dated Dec. 19, 2010 and signed by police Chief Brigadier Sanadi.

[205] See Police report No. STPL/08/II/2011/Jatim/Res Pas/Sek Bgl dated Feb. 13, 2011 and signed by police 1st t Brig. M. Suntoro; Police report No. STPL/10/II/2011/JATIM/Res Pas/Sek Bgl dated Feb. 15, 2011, and signed by police 1st Brig. Puguh Santoso.

[206] Human Rights Watch interview with a teenage student (name witheld), Bangil, September 18, 2011.

[207] Human Rights Watch interview with YAPI teacher Muhammad Alwi, Bangil, September 18, 2011.

[208] The men were convicted under Criminal Code article 170(2.2), which carries a maximum nine-year prison term. See East Java Prosecutor Office,“Kasus YAPI Pasuruan Terdakwa divonis 3 bulan,” website. June 8, 2011, http://www.kejati-jatim.go.id/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=174:kasus-yapi-pasuruan-terdakwa-divonis-3-bulan&catid=47:berita-umum&Itemid=108 (accessed Oct. 6, 2011).

[209] The fatwa of the MUI Sampang, numbered A-035/MUI/Spg/I/2012, and dated Jan. 1, 2012, was signed by Mahrus Zamroni (secretary of the fatwa commission), KH Mahmud Huzaini (head of the fatwa commission), Moh. Sjuaib (secretary general), and KH Buchori Ma’shum.

[210] “Ulama Jatim Minta Dukungan MUI Pusat untuk Larang Ajaran Syiah,” Pelita, January 25, 2012, http://www.pelitaonline.com/read-cetak/14419/ulama-jatim-minta-dukungan-mui-pusat----untuk-larang-ajaran-syiah/ (accessed Jan. 25, 2012).

[211] “Menag Tegaskan Syiah Bertentangan dengan Islam,” Media Indonesia, January 25, 2012, http://www.mediaindonesia.com/read/2012/01/25/293947/293/14/Menag-Tegaskan-Syiah-Bertentangan-dengan-Islam (accessed Jan. 26, 2012).

[212] “Report of the Meeting of Bakor Pakem in Sampang Regency on January 4, 2012” signed by Sampang chief prosecutor Danang Purwoko Adji Susesno.

[213] “Shia Cleric Convicted of Blasphemy,” Human Rights Watch news release, July 12, 2012, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/07/12/indonesia-shia-cleric-convicted-blasphemy (accessed July 19, 2012). “Sampang court rejects Shiite cleric’s objection,” The Jakarta Post, May 23, 2012, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/05/23/sampang-court-rejects-shiite-cleric-s-objection.html (accessed June 29, 2012).

[214] “Keadilan di Angan-angan,  Kelompok Kerja Advokasi Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan, Press Release, January 21, 2013. Copy on file at Human Rights Watch.

[215] Human Rights Watch interview with teenager Riza Fadilla Junior, Sukadana, October 17, 2011.

[216] Setiarto, Yulius, Memori Kasasi Case Number 130/Pid/2010/PN.TK East Lampung district court on behalf of Syahroni and Iwan Purwanto, March 8, 2011, p. 5.

[217] Human Rights Watch visited Syahroni and Iwan Purwanto in Sukadana prison on October 17, 2011.

[218] An Ahmadiyah activist provided the list to Human Rights Watch, Jakarta, September 14, 2011.

[219] Mayor Regulation No. 40 Year 2011 about “Banning Ahmadiyah Activities in Bekasi City.”

[220] Human Rights Watch interview with Rahmat Rahmadijaya ,Ahmadiyah mosque, November 6, 2011.

[221] Human Rights Watch interview with Titik Sartika ,Ahmadiyah mosque, November 6, 2011.

[222] Human Rights Watch interview with Rahmat Rahmadijaya, Ahmadiyah mosque, November 6, 2011.

[223] West Java governor regulation No. 12 Year 2011 signed by Ahmad Heryawan, March 2, 2011.

[224] Human Rights Watch interview with Hafiz, Cianjur, April 5, 2012.

[225] Human Rights Watch interview with Hasan Suwandi, Cianjur, April 5, 2012.

[226] Human Rights Watch interview with an Ahmadiyah woman (name withheld), Bintaro, Jakarta, September 10, 2011.

[227] Human Rights Watch phone interview with Ismael Suparman, June 26, 2012.

[228] Human Rights Watch interview an Ahmadiyah teacher (name withheld), Sukadana, September 14, 2011.

[229] Human Rights Watch interview with an eighth grader in a public junior high school, Campaka sub-district, Sukadana, September 14, 2011.

[230] The Ahmadi man from Manislor district in Kuningan regency was barred from registering his marriage at the Manislor office of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Human Rights Watch interview with the Ahmadi man, Jakarta, September 16, 2012.

[231] Human Rights Watch interview with Riyon Irfanus, Metro, Lampung, October 17, 2011.

[232] Human Rights Watch interview with Dewi Kanti, Jakarta, June 11, 2012.

[233] The discrimination against Ahmadiyah and Sunda Wiwitan members also take place in the Kuningan regency when the government refuses to issue their electronic ID card. In September 2012, more than 5,000 of their members were reported do not have the new ID card in Kuningan. See “Ahmadiyah dan Sunda Wiwitan Tidak Bisa Ikut E-KTP,” Tempo, September 2, 2012, http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2012/09/02/176426999 (accessed September 2, 2012). In Tasikmalaya, MUI asked the government not to put the word “Islam” into Ahmadiyah members’ ID cards. See “Warga Ahmadiyah Diminta Tak Cantumkan Islam di KTP,” Tempo, Sept. 14, 2012, http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2012/09/14/058429511/Warga-Ahmadiyah-Diminta-Tak-Cantumkan-Islam-di-KTP?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter (accessed September 14, 2012).

[234] In June 1964, the Kuningan Bakor Pakem declared marriages of members of Agama Sunda Djawa (Java Sundanese Religion), a major Sunda Wiwitan organization, to be illegal. The Kuningan prosecutor’s office later detained nine believers, which included Djatikusumah, a priest, and eight young grooms, who allegedly were married using Sundanese ritual. Anticipating increased hostilities, their leader and Djatikusumah’s father, Tedja Buana, decided to leave the organization, joining the Catholic church and inviting the church to use their Sunda house of worship. His move prompted 5,000 Sunda Wiwitan believers to convert to Catholicism. “It’s an important decision. My grandfather saved thousands of our members from being accused as atheists. We can’t imagine what would happened if he didn’t do it,” said Dewi Kanti, referring to massacres of the communists in 1965-1966. But in March 1981, Djatikusumah, the eldest son of Tedja Buana, declared that he was leaving the Catholic church and returning to his native faith. His move prompted 1,600 believers to reconvert to Sunda Wiwitan. The Catholic cathedral was re-converted to a Sunda Wiwitan house of worship. See Iman C.Sukmana, Menuju Gereja Yang Semakin Pribumi: Analisis Konflik Internal Dalam Gereja Eks-Ads (Jakarta: Penerbit Universitas Atma Jaya, 2011).

[235] Human Rights Watch interview with Dewi Kanti, Jakarta, June 11, 2012.

[236] The Suharto regime officially discriminated against Confucianism between 1979 and 1998. But the discrimination had started much earlier with the banning of Chinese characters, Chinese-language books, and Chinese-language schools. See Leo Suryadinata, “Buddhism and Confucianism in Indonesia” in Tim Lindsey and Helen Pausacker eds., Chinese Indonesians: Remembering, Distorting, Forgetting  (Singapore: ISEAS 2005).

[237] IzakLattu, “Violence against indigenous religions,” The Jakarta Post, March 1, 2012, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/01/03/violence-against-indigenous-religions.html.

[238] Human Rights Watch did a report about similar ID card issue in Egypt. See “Egypt: Allow Citizens to List Actual Religion on ID Cards,” Human Rights Watch news release, November 11, 2007, http://www.hrw.org/news/2007/11/11/egypt-allow-citizens-list-actual-religion-id-cards.

[239] Population Administrative Law, full cite, art. 64.

[240] Human Rights Watch interview with Dewi Kanti, Jakarta, June 11, 2012.

[241] Human Rights Watch interview with an Ahmadiyah man (name withheld) of Manis Lor, Jakarta, September 16, 2011. He showed his marriage certificate to Human Rights Watch.

[242] Human Rights Watch interview with Riyon Irfanus, Metro, Lampung, October 17, 2011.

[243] Human Rights Watch interview with Soesiana Tri Ekawati,Bandar Lampung, October 17, 2011.