Religion in Indonesia was a complex and volatile issue in the early 1990s, one not easily analyzed in terms of social class, region, or ethnic group. Although Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other religions influenced many aspects of life, the government generally discouraged religious groups from playing a political role. The state guaranteed tolerance for certain religions (agama) regarded as monotheistic by the government, including Islam, Christianity>, Hinduism, and Buddhism, but only as long as these creeds remained outside of politics.
Background: Indonesia declared its independence in 1945 from the Netherlands, a claim disputed, then recognized by the Dutch in 1949. In 1975 Indonesian troops occupied Portuguese East Timor. Current issues include implementing IMF-mandated reforms (particularly restructuring and recapitalizing the insolvent banking sector), effecting a transition to a popularly elected government, addressing longstanding grievances over the role of the ethnic Chinese business class and charges of cronyism and corruption, alleged human rights violations by the military, the role of the military and religion in politics, and growing pressures for some form of independence or autonomy by Aceh, Irian Jaya, and East Timor.
Ethnic groups: Javanese 45%, Sundanese 14%, Madurese 7.5%, coastal Malays 7.5%, other 26%
Languages: Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese
conventional long form: Republic of Indonesia
conventional short form: Indonesia
local long form: Republik Indonesia
local short form: Indonesia
former: Netherlands East Indies; Dutch East Indies
Data code: ID-->