comments 26

Is Indonesia a Muslim Country?


New home for me…

After several plans for our future life after Qatar, of how we would travel around the world before settling down in our final destination; we ended up instead of traveling according to plan A or plan B, we finished up by travelling with plan “X”.

Driving along the country side of UK

Driving along the country side of UK

So here I am in the UK with my British husband as a trailing spouse instead of a working expat. Even my UK visa in my Indonesian Passport says that I am permitted entry to the UK as the spouse of K.G. Pearson – thanks Keithey. It’s just another new country to me, the difference is that I can understand and better control what’s going on around me (well almost…) just like I did in Indonesia. What I mean is that I can listen to the local radio stations and understand what is being discussed compared to when I was in Qatar, or even reading local newspapers. I can even drive cars on the same side of the road as Indonesia…. the steering wheel being on the right side of the car. What I like most is driving around the English country side listening to the famous radio, “the Beeb” – the nick name for the BBC according to the English.

One of it’s radio channels is BBC Radio 2, easy to listen radio where they play light popular music that I understand and here and there they slip in current news and events.

As a true Indonesian, any news about Indonesia outside of Indonesia is always of interest me. The latest Indonesian news that made it to the BBC was the recent bombing attack in Jakarta which happened a couple of days ago… not very good news but, there you go…

Jeremy Vine was the Radio 2 DJ that morning, when he introduced a discussion about the bombing in the middle of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.   Before the ‘on air’ radio discussion Jeremy slipped in a little bit information about Indonesia by saying: “…. it is the biggest Muslim country in the world, where 99.5% of the population are muslims.”

Well Jeremy , that information is incorrect!

Let me explain here, the first statement of Indonesia is a Muslim Country is not really true. Indonesia is NOT an Islamic Country, we also celebrate Christmas, Chinese New Year, Waisak, as well as Hindu festivals, and that’s official, as those dates are official government holidays. I think this make Indonesia a secular country. Compared to Western Countries who never call themselves Christian countries (except Vatican off course,) and officially they don’t celebrate other religious holidays like Indonesia.

The second statement, “99.5% of Indonesian are Muslim” is also incorrect. Indonesians are religious people (maybe), but certainly not only Islam, this is why:

  • Most famous island, Bali belongs to Indonesia, and the real Balinese, are Hindu (in fact they are the biggest Hindu population outside the Indian subcontinent)… well, you can say that it doesn’t make any difference, as ethnic Balinese are less than 1% out of total Indonesia population. But I would say 0.79% is more than 0.5%.
  • Aside from the Philippines, Indonesia has the biggest Chinese population outside China. It may be only 6% of the total Indonesian population, but they certainly are not Muslim, and is more than 14 million out of the 238 million population of Indonesia.
  • There are some areas in Indonesia where the local ethnicity took Christianity as their faith instead of Islam.

Religious map of Indonesia.jpg
Religious map of Indonesia” by MarshmirOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via CommonsThe map above explain the demographic layout of religions in Indonesia according to Wikipedia where most of us rely for information. 

All in all there is 20% Christianity in Indonesia, compared to 4.4% Islam in the UK.  Yes it is still true that Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population in the world (around 166,600,000 people claim to be Muslim), but Jeremy Vine, you are wrong on saying 99.5% of Indonesians are Muslim.

They are too many Indonesian on the street regardless the religion....

There are too many Indonesians on the streets regardless of religion….


That day, I was brave enough to telephone the Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2  to correct the error about percentages of religions in Indonesia, but unfortunately he did not take my information or call me back and continued to state 99.5% of the Indonesian population is Moslem …. shame on you Jeremy!

All information on religions are taken from Wikipedia, I did not make it up. The link below:


  1. Mr. Vine malu kali, mbak.. Dikoreksi sama orang Indonesia.. Di luar topik nih, mbak tau gak kabarnya mbak Fe Angka? Saya pernah janjian buat kopdar dan tukeran suvenir di Jakarta tapi entah kenapa e-mail saya gak pernah dibalas.. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saya juga dah lama ga kontzak dennen Fe… maklum, saya juga sampan menghilang beberapa saat.


      • Iya sih, mba nina juga sempat menghilang tapi masih ada kabarnya lah.. Kalo mba Fe itu terakhir kontak tuh Maret 2015, waktu itu dia baru selesai jalan ke negara Balkan katanya.., udah gitu sama sekali gak ada kabarnya.. Semoga dia baik-baik aja ya..


      • Dah saya hubungi langsung, katanya dia lagi mau liat emailnya…. btw cerita mrstravelista juga berenti kok? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh gitu ya.. Syukurlah kalo mba Fe baik-baik aja.. Makasih udah nyempetin nanyain kabarnya dia..
        Wah mrstravelista lagi rempong happy beranak pinak ini..😝 Anakku umurnya 3 bulan sekarang.. Boro-boro nulis di blog, breakfast aja seringnya jadi brunch..😄 Tapi blogwalking mah kadang masih bisa terutama ke yg jarang muncul seperti dirimu ini..😄

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Nin… ayo pada mulai nulis2 lagi..aku juga vakum lama…repot ini itu lah..


    • Dear Emmy, mba tunggu tunggu email kamu lho…beneran ga ada, mungkinkah salah spelling? Tapi jangan kuatir, souvenir2 Balkan untuk Emmy masih disimpan kok.. Congrats ya buat kehadiran baby boy nya…kalau lagi di Indonesia, yuk janjian lagi. Salam kangen.


  2. Thank you for your bravery – he may never take your call or information, but you can still write, share your story and make the truth known. You can also send him a link to this post! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you’re enjoying your new life in England, even as a trailing spouse.
    Obviously Jeremy whatshisface is an idiot! 🙂


  4. Ah now you are in England. My wondering about your whereabout is now questioned.

    Yes, tell him the true fact about our country Nin 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So infuriating when the media puts out the wrong message. Even more infuriating when they decline to be informed or corrected. You should write to the station’s management and tell them how you tried to set the record straight, and how Vine ignored you.


  6. I put a like on this post because it is good people question what they hear.
    Much that is said is opinion and not fact and statistics can be twisted.


    • True, statistic can be twisted, but being an Indonesian, I know the fact, and the statistic is not far from the truth….
      Thanks for dropping by anyway 🙂


  7. Duti

    Nina, I’m so proud of what you’ve done. I agree with leggypeggy, make sure the BBC management gets the whole story of what happened. Keep up the good spirit girl! 🙂


  8. Iya Indonesia kan cuma mayoritas muslim tapi ga menerapkan hukum sharia kayak negara muslim. Wah kalo diterapin sih koruptor2 pd kapok kali ya..kalo nyolong kan hukuman mnrt Islam nya potong tangan..hiii

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I hope other BBC listeners read this post! Well said ans thats true, majority European countries are rarely being proclaimed as a Christians country by the (western) media.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This kind incorrect information, sometimes, put Indonesia looks not so so tolerate to other religion. I think, muslim population, even only around 70-80 percentage only, considering most of people in east region are Christian. Not mention other region, such as North Sumatera, where most of its districts occupied by Christian. It also has many Chinese population (they’re Indonesian, now, by the way) spreading around the province.
    Some people, sometimes, wondered when they saw me got along well with other people having different religion while I am abroad. They didn’t even know that my best friends in Indonesia coming from different beliefs. Some people thoughts that every lady use scarf to cover her head is extremist and narrow minded too.
    I am proud of you, Mbak Nin, for your courage to tell this reporter how wrong he was, even tough at the end, he didn’t respond it all. The wrong information stated by mainstream media sometimes can be more dangerous than the terrorist themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post!
    Thanks for sharing this and I hope this post gets more shared to eliminate the misconception of Indonesia being assumed as a Muslim country than a country with a large population of Muslims.


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