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Jakarta Post

A landscape of religious diversity

  • Hoon Chang Yau,

Singapore   /   Fri, January 9 2009   /  10:56 am

Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world. Christians make up about 8 percent of Indonesia's population of 230 million. It is a country with a long tradition of tolerance and coexistence among people of different faiths. Looking out the window from my 22nd-story hotel room in central Jakarta, I take in various buildings that represent different religions. On my right is the largest mosque in Indonesia, the Masjid Istiqlal, and next to it stands the Catholic Cathedral with its neo-Gothic architecture. In front of me are modern high-rises -- the epitome of the religion called capitalism -- and beside these buildings sprawl slums which highlight the inequities of this religion. New to this vista is the recently built Colosseum-like Reformed Millennium Cathedral, an evangelical Protestant megachurch that seats 8,000 and houses a seminary, a museum an...