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Indonesia's anti-vaxxers: Between religion and lack of information

Adi Renaldi

The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta  /  Thu, February 4, 2021  /  05:43 pm
Indonesia's anti-vaxxers: Between religion and lack of information

Indonesia's anti-vaccine movement is the result of a combination of religious beliefs and lack of trust in the government. (JP/Muhammad Iqbal Kusumadirezza)

Muhammad Irfan Sembiring no longer boasts long dark hair, a ripped black T-shirt and jeans. Instead, he is occasionally seen donning a robe and skullcap or turban when performing as a vocalist/guitarist with the Jakarta-based thrash-metal legend Rotor, which formed in 1991 and is still going strong, though less active than it used to be.   He is also one of a growing number of Indonesians who reject vaccination for religious and political reasons.    Irfan, born in 1970, was like many Indonesians whose relationship with religion was only on paper but rarely practiced it. It wasn’t until 1997 that he delved deeper into Islam, the religion he was born into, after reading a biography of the Prophet Muhammad at a bookstore in Jakarta. This happened shortly after he and the rest of Rotor returned from San Francisco, where they had traveled in a bid to conquer ...