16 January 2018
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  • » 11/16/2013, 00.00


    West Java: fakes conversion to Islam to marry, Christian soap actor risks jail

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The protagonist of the story is the young Protestant actor Jonas Rivanno. To tie the knot with his colleague Asmirandah Zantman he pretended to embrace Islam and changes his religion on his identity document. But continues to declare himself a Christian. For the family of the woman this is a shock and betrayal. The Islamists ready to report him to the police.

    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.


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    See also

    10/04/2012 BANGLADESH
    Bangladesh: Muslim by birth, Christian for love of Christ (more than husband)
    Maria and Teresa converted to Christianity to marry. But their marriages have proved unsuccessful: the husband of the first is a drunk and violent, and the second will not work. Both, however, choose to remain faithful to their men and to Christ. "A different love," says Maria, "which makes me happy."

    07/05/2012 INDONESIA
    Extremist threats in Aceh: authorities close three churches
    Two Catholic and one Protestant place of worship. Among these, the Napagaluh Catholic prayer chapel, a "historic" building open for 38 years with no record of incidents or complaints. Local government claims they lack building permits. In reality closure due to protests of local Islamic fringe.

    11/08/2015 INDONESIA
    West Java, Islamic extremists block construction of St. Clare Parish
    Opponents argue that the faithful do not have a building permit. In reality, the permit was obtained, after 17 years. The church should serve 9 thousand faithful. The Bekasi mayor gives in to protesters' demands. Religious intolerance is one the rise in the country and there is a certain "impotence" of the government in curbing Islamic Extremists. A long list of churches blocked or scrapped.

    27/07/2010 INDONESIA
    Record number of anti-Christian attacks in 2010
    Between January and July, 28 incidents were recorded compared to 18 for the whole of 2009 and 17 for 2008. Bekasi holds the record. “It seems that people and the government do not realise that the right to worship, as stipulated in the Constitution, comes with the right to have a house of worship,” says the deputy chairman of the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy.

    05/08/2011 INDONESIA
    Sumatra: Ramadan begins with the burning of two Protestant churches
    A crowd of at least 100 people attacked and torched a prayer centre of the Christian Batak Synod (Hkbp). They had previously attacked another Christian church five miles away. The violence took place on the first day of the holy month of fasting and prayer for Muslims.

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