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Religion

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.
More than 80 per cent of the Indonesians people are Muslims, and about 10 per cent are Christians. Many of Indonesian's Muslim follow the practices of their religion, Islam, less than strictly than do most Muslim in Arab countries. Many Indonesians believe in spirits, and combine ancestor and nature worship with Islam or Christianity. People in Bali and western Lombok follow a religion called Bali-Hinduism. It is base on Hinduism, but include ancient Balinese and Javanese beliefs. The Bali Hindus worship the spirit of important natural features, including mountains and large trees. They also honor the spirits of ancestor which, they believe, visit them. Bali has thousands of Bali-Hindu temple where the religion's many holidays are celebrated. The ceremonies include colorful dance and dramas.
Buddhism and Hinduism were important religions on the island hundred years ago, but Indonesian now has relatively few Buddhists or Hindus. People in some isolated areas still follow ancient local religion. In part of Borneo, for example, people worship ancestors, idols, and natural feature. The Government respects religious holidays of Moslems, Christians and other established religions in Indonesia. Sunday is the regular weekly holiday in Indonesia, and on Friday, Government offices close at 11.30 a.m. to allow the faithful of the Moslem religions to congregate for prayer at the mosques.

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