World News

Christianity grows by nearly one per cent in Muslim-majority Indonesia

The latest data released by the government of Indonesia suggest that the number of Christians in the Muslim-majority archipelago has slightly increased, a U.S.-based group has noted.


The Southeast Asian country, which is home to the world’s largest Muslim population, now has 20.4 million Protestants and 8.42 million Catholics, who together comprise 10.58% of the total population of 272.23 million, according to data from the Directorate General of the Department of Population and Civil Registration (Dukcapil) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, International Christian Concern said, adding that the 2010 census data showed that 9.87% of the population was Christian.

Geographically, there are 30 Muslim-majority provinces. Only in four provinces is Islam a minority religion or below 50%, including West Papua. Indonesia’s Constitution is based on the doctrine of Pancasila — five principles upholding the nation’s belief in the one and only God and social justice, humanity, unity and democracy for all. However, there are many extremist groups in Indonesia that oppose Pancasila.

Churches often face opposition from groups that attempt to obstruct the construction of non-Muslim houses of worship. Human Rights Watch previously said that more than 1,000 churches in the archipelago had been closed due to pressure from such groups.

Indonesia is ranked No. 47 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most extreme levels of persecution.


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