Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In order to get married with a Muslim, the actor of a popular Indonesian soap opera Jonas Rivanno, a Protestant Christian, pretended to convert to Islam through the imam of a mosque in Depor , Bogor regency (West Java). He had to change religion on his identity documents to formalize the engagement, but following the marriage last October with his young colleague Asmirandah Zantman - of mixed Dutch and Sundanese blood - he said he had never abandoned Jesus and that his religion is still Christianity. An affront to the woman's family who, supported by local fringe of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI ) accuse the man of treason and now intend to report him to the police for treason.
Intermarriage between followers of different religions is always a delicate issue in Indonesia. Civil unions follow the ceremony, officiated beforehand, in front of a religious authority. Only at a later time are they civilly recognized, which is nothing more than a mere ratification of what has already happened.
In short without a previous ceremony in a church, or mosque, or in any other place of worship, under the supervision of a religious leader, the marriage is not considered civilly valid or morally right in Indonesia. This makes mixed marriages virtually impossible, because in Islam the husband also becomes "the only lord and master" of the woman , a role that a Christian or any member of another religion can have.
What's significant about the love story between the two actors of soap , the Christian Jonas and the Muslim Asmirandah ( with blood Sundanese , the population of West Java which strictly applies Islam) is the intervention , or rather interference of the FPI . The extremists, on the pretext of the purity of Islam and defense of the family, are interfering in a matter of a family nature , once again crossing boundaries ( and personal freedom ).
Jonas has repeatedly stated that he "was not a Muslim, but still Christian." The mother of Asmirandah named Sanny, reacted in public with weeping and mourning , accusing her son-in-law of betraying them and of being shocked with his behavior . For Islamists the profession of faith is valid to all intents and is coupled by the complaint to the judiciary - with anofficial announcement - by Habib Idrus Al Ghadri , leader of the section of Depok.
Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Although individual rights are protected under the constitution, including religious freedom, the country has seen a rise in violent attacks against minorities and laws that discriminate based on gender. In Aceh, local authorities have implemented Islamic law, the only province in the archipelago to do so; however, more and more regions are coming under the influence of radical extremist views of Islam. Increasingly, bans are imposed in personal matters and the lives of citizens.
Leading this campaign of "Islamization" are the members of the Islamic Defender Front who call the shots in different areas by imposing rules and regulations inspired by sharia, such as the prohibition of alcoholic beverages and other regulations in the field of sexual morality. The group - opposed by a large part of the civilian population - is also accused of using violence to achieve their objectives, and in the past has launched a series of attacks since 2000, affecting among others the Embassy of the United States and bars, nightclubs, and private clubs, especially during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer.