Where Indonesia’s Muslims Are Headed in the Next 22 Years. And What They’re Doing to Try and Stop It.

There’s nothing more frightening than to know you’re losing control. Whether that’d be at work, in your marriage, or while playing Call of Duty: Zombies.

You hate losing control.

But if you’re a Muslim currently living in Indonesia, your grasp of control is slowly coming to an end.

Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world; over 200 million to be exact. But that’s not what’s freaking them out. It’s the other side of the story that has them shaking in their boots.

Over 2 million Muslims leave Islam for Christianity ever year in Indonesia. That’s one large migration taking place. And Islamic leaders are not happy about it.Islam in IndonesiaIf the status quo doesn’t change Indonesia will lose its Muslim majority by 2035. That’s a huge problem for Islam, not to mention the self-esteem of many Muslims. They feel that Islam has failed to become relevant toward the younger generation.

Not only is Islam becoming more and more detached from the lives of many Indonesian Muslims, but it’s also losing its reach.

The most exposure many Indonesian Muslims have to Islam is during Friday sermons, which are usually hard for the average Muslim to understand or relate to.

Islam is losing its congregation not only in their daily lives, but also at the pulpit.

Which is why Islamic leaders are trying to undo what has already happened. And possibly save their faith.

Enter Save Maryam

Save Maryam is a Youtube video that was produced to spread the word about the situation that is facing Islam in Indonesia. It highlights some of the fact that were stated above. All the while telling it through a story about a little girl named Maryam.

Maryam, according to the video, is a representation of the Indonesian youth who will, and have, left Islam.

Maryam's Family

Through Maryam, the video shows how the current system of teaching Islam has failed. The youth are left to deal with depression and loneliness by themselves, which ultimately leads them to abandon Islam for Christianity.

To combat this, the video presents five goals for bringing Islam back into the lives of Indonesian Muslims.

  • Create the first Islamic TV Channel for the youth of Indonesia
  • Create a community helpline to help with the needs of the youth
  • Preach less. Listen more.
  • Raise $2 million
  • Spread the message through social networks and word of mouth

The first two points are for the use of combatting the already prevalent Christian TV channels and helplines. I guess they decided they needed to catch up with the technology.

The third point is more of a general piece of advice. Imams and Mosques are losing their followers because they preach (and teach) in a way that pushes the younger generations away.

The fourth point is a little unclear. The video did not mention what the $2 million was for. Most likely for the TV channel and helpline, but there’s still the issue of where the funds will come from.

And the last point is to spread the message. Which doesn’t seem to be going well.

I looked through their Twitter account and website which are located in the description of the video to see what was going on. The twitter account hasn’t been updated since December of 2012 and their website is void of any information. And when I mean void, I mean void!

Their Facebook page is even worse with nothing posted since November of 2012…

It’s obvious that someone went to a lot of trouble to make the video. I was surprised at how clean and modern the video was. Yet nothing is happening.

Why has the movement stopped?

Christianity already has an up in the game

If you’ve ever come late to a party or game you know what I’m talking about.

As the video itself states: Christian missionaries have their own community helplines for the youth, and radio stations across Indonesia. This is a major advantage.

Another major advantage is that they hold services on Friday instead of Sunday. This is not by accident. Holding services on the same day as Muslims creates a heightened competition between both parties.

Maryam for example might want to hang out with her friends at church, but it would mean ditching Friday sermons at the mosque.

Churches further increase the competition by teaching the Bible in the same way the Quran is taught. They also use terms such as Iman, Salah, and Allah to create a familiar experience that many Indonesian Muslims are accustomed to.

Islam is unwilling to change to meet the current demand

When you watched the Save Maryam video did you notice something odd in the beginning? That picture that says “No musical instruments used”? Yep, that’s the one.

Why exactly do they have that there? Who cares if musical instruments were used?

This might come as a shock to you, but Islam doesn’t have the nicest stance toward musical instruments. Several Hadiths compare musical instruments to acts such as fornication and wine drinking. And some Muslims view musical instruments as distractions from Allah.

Now obviously most of you are shaking your heads asking yourself, “What the heck is wrong with these people?” But the real issue is that this archaic stance toward an accepted (and loved) form of enjoyment is what is hurting Islam.

How are you supposed to relate to the youth when you prohibit the very thing that most young people are in to? It doesn’t work.

Islam will fail to connect with the younger generation as long as they hold to these antiquated (and ridiculous) stances.

Islam’s continued use of violence

In an age where violence is routinely condemned, Islam is the one that continuously utilizes it. Which seems like a regular go-to solution for any problem Muslims face.

And when that problem is another religion it turns into an all out attack on any house of worship.

In the province of Aceh, 17 churches have been closed in one year due to Islamic pressure. The governor, Abdullah has promised the Islamization of the province and he fully intends to carry it out. Sharia Law is already implemented.

In Java, the last synagogue was torn down in May of 2013 after being sealed off by Islamist forces. The minority Ahmadiyya community in Java has also experienced persecution. Homes were torn down by Islamist groups and the governor of Java said that violence against the community would end if they disappeared.

That’s just a glimpse of the routine violence perpetrated by Indonesian Muslims. And it doesn’t make them popular among the youth or non religious groups.

This is why the movement has most likely stopped dead in its tracks.

And why Indonesian Muslims are helpless to stop the coming religious transformation.

Lost MuslimsIndonesian mosques will continue to see their congregation disappear. It might happen gradually, or people might start leaving Islam at an incredible rate. No matter how fast the rate of change is, one thing is for certain. Islam will lose its majority status in Indonesia. Striking a terrible blow to the Islamic world.

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About John-Pierre Maeli

Keeping it simple and crystal clear, because anything else is useless. I'm here to not only inform you, but to also connect with you. That's what The Political Informer is all about. Feel free to follow me on either Twitter or Google+ Let's talk!

  • thisguy

    Look at muslim countries and tell me what they have to offer the world? Muslim countries are poor performers in science, technology, medicine, education, human rights are none existent, don’t allow others to express their opinions, muslims that think of reforming islam are killed in the most inhumane manner. Muslim countries ban books that threaten the thinking of islam therefore prohibit the development of the human mind and change towards progress.

  • NARESH NATH CHATURVEDI

    All the people of this world has to arrive finally on Sanatan Dharm of which Hindus are the follower only because it relates to only Peace,No compulsion of any kind. You can be offered any kind of worship,With idol or without idol,whatever one likes as per their choices.

  • Pranav OM

    Bali is still practicing Balinese Hinduism and it’s the most beautiful part of Indonesia <3

  • Robert Austin

    Or, one religion was revealed by the One True God, and all others are distractions created by the Enemy, often dubbed, the Deceiver (which is one of Allah’s 99 “great names”.

  • Robert Austin

    I am extremely doubtful that ANY missionary, from ANY CHRISTIAN sect “buys” any converts. I am sure that if you actually understood the situation with even one iota of truth, then you would know that missionaries aid and assist indigenous individuals without any expectation of church attendance or conversion. There is always the hope that this is the result, and of course, who wouldn’t want to hear what someone has to say, when that someone has shown more concern for your well being then your fellow neighbor or any adhere to to other religions.

  • harsh neema

    See no need to worry guys whether Christianity, buddhism or Hinduism stays the majority religion… Yes there have been clashes in these groups but we all know that we can live peacefully in a country where there is no islam.

    All religions are against islam only . It’s a saying that – enemy of our enemy is our friend.

  • QuiCreva

    This article was written three years ago. I took a look at some more recent data. Apparently the movement out Islam into Christianity is actually snowballing, although Indonesian politicians and religious leaders tend to downplay or even deny the phenomenon in public. When you think about it, what does this say about the market appeal of Islam? Supposedly, Indonesian Islam is one of the most enlightened and tolerant forms available. (Yes, the PC folk who make these claims ignore the oppression and persecution of Christians that go on throughout the country, also the punishment of apostates, but let’s ignore those issues for the moment.) Yet this “enlightened”, “tolerant” Islam cannot hold its own against a rival religion, even when the government stacks all of the odds in its favor. Islam is like the hothouse flower that requires a very protective environment to thrive, while Christianity resembles a hearty weed – it can take hold anywhere. Which do you think will win in the end? And if you were to level the playing field by eliminating all special protections for any one religion, a cornerstone of true liberal democracy, Islam wouldn’t have a prayer of surviving, let alone conquering the world. Islam does best in under-educated, traditional patriarchal societies. As these societies are introduced to universal education, the marketplace of ideas, and globalism in all of its guises, Islam loses its grip upon them. This is what is happening in Indonesia today.

    I came across an Indonesian convert to Christianity who had this to say about the difference between the two faiths: Christianity focuses upon God’s love, hope for the future and finding practical solutions to everyday problems. Islam merely yaps about its glorious past and advises Muslims to accept Allah’s will when they are poor and oppressed. Thus Christian charities rush in to help when natural disasters strike Muslim regions, while Islamic charities are more likely to offer to build mosques and madrassa schools while ignoring the human suffering. Rich western nations provide billions in aid to poor Muslim countries, while rich Islamic countries turn a blind eye to the misery of fellow Muslims and spend their wealth on material goods for themselves.

    • Jonathan Brooks

      Well stated and laid out. Jesus and salvation is a force beyond opposition and threat, because God has a Son who loves you and wants you to get a job and get married, and not live on the idea of killing the infidel.

      • QuiCreva

        Thanks for the affirmation. Let’s all keep praying for the remaining Muslims in Indonesia. Also for the persecuted Christians. May God’s merciful will be done, everywhere.

        • Jonathan Brooks

          I agree. Prayer is vital in this matter, because they face deadly force from the islamic majority for their actions to seek Jesus.

          • QuiCreva

            “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.” Oppression merely strengthens the faith of devout Christians. But yes, let’s pray unceasingly.

            The harvest is certainly good! According to some predictions, if current conversion rates continue, Indonesia will have a Christian majority by 2050. That sounds too good to be true, but all things are possible with God.

          • Jonathan Brooks

            I think that is true in all the oppressive countries, and not just Indonesia. There are even Christians in North Korea, which I find amazing, considering being one there is a death sentence.

          • QuiCreva

            Yes, Christianity appears to be on the rise everywhere there is extreme injustice and oppression. Within twenty years there may well be more Christians in China than there are in the United States. When the illusions of human wisdom and omnipotence, we all suddenly realize how dependent we are on God’s undeserved grace.

          • Jonathan Brooks

            China is very oppressive on Christians, but I think they have really shot themsleves in the foot. The more they oppress, the more the people seem to come to Jesus. It is like Rome in the time of the apostles.

          • QuiCreva

            “The people walking in darkness have seen a great Light”. Apparently, the darker the night, the more people hunger for the true Light of the world. It has been that way since the Fall. Thanks be to God for His infinite mercy!

          • Jonathan Brooks

            I also suspect we are in the time of the fields white with harvest. The move of the Spirit of God and Jesus in the oppressed and third world has been breathtaking.

          • QuiCreva

            So very true. Praise be to God!

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