Indonesia - Religions

According to data made available in 1990, about 87% of the inhabitants were adherents of Islam; 6% were Protestants; 4% were Roman Catholics; 2% were Hindus; 1% are Buddhists, and 1% follow tribal and other religions.

Most Muslims are Sunni, but the Shi'a, Amadhiyah, and Sufi branches are also represented. There are also small groups of messianic Islam groups including Darul Argam, Jamaah Salamulla, and Negara Islam Indonesia.

Hinduism was the religion of Java for several centuries, but when Islam swept over Indonesia in the 15th century, Hinduism retreated to Bali, and some three million Indonesians on Bali and elsewhere have remained Hindu in religion and culture. The religious faith of the Chinese in Indonesia may be characterized as Christian or Buddhist-Confucianist. The chief Christian communities are found on Ambon and adjacent islands, in northern Sulawesi, in north-central Sumatra, and on Timor and adjacent islands. In central Kalimantan and Irian Jaya, as well as a few other areas, substantial numbers of Indonesians follow animist tribal religions.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution for members of five out of six officially recognized religions. Restrictions on some unrecognized religions do exist; however, in 1998 the People's Consultative Assembly adopted a new Human Rights Charter, which provides for citizens' freedom to practice their religion without specifying any particular religions. The government actively supports Islamic religious schools and pays for a number of annual pilgrimages to Mecca.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: