Thursday, December 18, 2014

1) Jokowi heading to Papua for Christmas

2) Persistent Islamisation In Papua


1) Jokowi heading to Papua  for Christmas
Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Fri, December 19 2014, 9:35 AM
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is slated to go to Papua to celebrate Christmas this year and also plans to meet local residents to hear their aspirations on various issues. 

Jokowi is pressing ahead with his plan to attend the festivities in the province, despite calls from a number of church leaders in Papua for Jokowi to cancel his plan, as an expression of disappointment over the government’s slow response to the recent shooting incident in Enarotali, Paniai, in which five civilians were killed.

Jokowi held a meeting with National Christmas Celebration organizing committee head Yohana Susana Yembise, who is also the women’s empowerment and child protection minister, as well as other officials at the Presidential Palace on Thursday to discuss preparations for the event. 

Jokowi is scheduled to arrive in Jayapura on Dec. 27 and will give a speech to open the Christmas celebration in Papua Bangkit Square at Sentani Airport, Jayapura regency, Papua.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno said local police and military personnel would ensure security during the event, while Yohana said Jayapura was a safe place, far from where the Paniai incident had occurred. She added that rejections to Jokowi’s visit “came merely from a small group of people”.

“Other than the celebration, [Jokowi] wants to sit with the Papuan people and discuss what they want Jokowi to do for their welfare,” said Yohana on Thursday.

Yohana was in Papua early this week to monitor the Christmas event preparation in Papua Bangkit Square.

National Police chief Gen. Sutarman added that sending a message to the Papuan people that the province was safe was required to ensure better development there.

Cabinet Secretary Andi Widjajanto revealed that Jokowi would also do blusukan (impromptu visits) to hear the voices of local residents during his two-night trip to the province. 

The planned areas for blusukan are being finalized, as is the question of whether the President will visit conflict-prone areas in the province.

“The President is willing to go to the areas where people need to be heard,” Andi said.

On Thursday night, human rights activists held a solidarity event for the Paniai incident at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, citing the absence of a state response to the incident, which occurred when police opened fire on protesters in Enarotali, Paniai, on Dec. 8.

Andi said Jokowi and the government had refrained from hasty assessments or statements pending an ongoing investigation by a joint team led by Tedjo’s office.

“The President asked [us] to investigate the case thoroughly. He also wanted to make a public statement [after] there is clarity about what really occurred there and what needs to be addressed,” Andi said, adding that Jokowi was also willing to hear any findings from independent investigation teams, including those led by the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) and a Papuan synod.

Andi expected clearer developments to be reported to the President next week, and that Jokowi could then address the matter, reducing the possibility of the violence recurring.


2) Persistent Islamisation In Papua

By , Barnabas Aid On December 18, 2014

Christian children in Indonesia's most easterly province are bearing the brunt of a multi-faceted Islamisation programme that is changing the character of the formerly Christian-majority region.  Papuan children are being trafficked to Islamic boarding schools in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, forming part of a growing trend of Islamisation in this politically-disputed region. Government-sponsored transmigration has also diluted the indigenous Christian population so that census figures now reveal they no longer constitute a majority

Impoverished children are enticed away from their families with the promise of a good education, impossible to refuse. Unaware that the educational institutions in which they are placed focus mainly on learning from the Quran, children (possibly thousands) have left Papua over the past decade or so, according to reports.
But these re-educated children are not the only tactic adopted to Islamise the region that the Indonesian military occupied in 1963. Indonesiahas the world's  largest Muslim population in the world, although the Papua province was mainly Christian until recent years. Through the government's long-term transmigration programme, millions of Indonesians have moved from Islamic regions of the country, such as Java and South Sulawesi to reside in Papua, finding employment in the lucrative oil, metal and forestry industries there.

Papua is rich in oil, copper and gold, but poverty and undernourishment plague the region, with 32% of the population living below the poverty line, compared with the national average of 12.5%. The illiteracy rate for women is high, at 64%. The indigenous Melanesian population is mostly Christian, and live in remote and inaccessible parts of the province. By contrast, most of the businesses are Islamic and almost all government officials, including the police and army, are also Muslim.
Government medical care is largely neglected, with no government doctors in Wamena or Sorong, even though Sorong is the region's second largest city. Instead, large numbers of the local population are converting to Islam because of the food and medical care offered by Islamic charities. The provision of aid, jobs, schooling, food and housing has encouraged many local Papuans to convert to Islam. Islam's tolerance of polygamy has also made the religion attractive to Papuans. Although polygamy is widely practised in Papuan culture, Papuan churches strongly advocate against it.
The growing Islamic influence has become particularly noticeable in the last few years.  The loudspeakers of mosques are in action almost every hour throughout the day and night, instead of just calling Muslims to prayer five times a day. A recent visitor to Sorong described how the mosques took turns to broadcast, so that there was barely a few minutes of silence in 24 hours.
Missionaries who work in the area have witnessed a remarkable spread of Islam in recent years. A Barnabas Aid partner reports that there is little or no missionary or NGO activity in Raja Ampat, West Papua, and the local church is struggling. The 2010 census showed that Papuans now form a minority, at 49% of the total Papua population. Unofficial estimates claim that Muslim migrants now constitute up to 60% of the population, with the mainly Christian indigenous Papuans now making up only 40% of the total population.Papua province comprises of Papua and West Papua and make up the western part of the island of New Guinea, formally annexed to Indonesia in 1969. Previously known as Irian Barat and then Irian Jaya, Papua province was split into West Irian Jaya and Papua in 2003, and West Irian Jaya became West Papua in 2007.
Ever since the Dutch colonial rulers ceded the territory to Indonesia, there has been strong opposition to Indonesian rule and many Papuans want independence. Some reports say that up to 500,000 Papuans have been killed in their struggle for self-determination, and many have joined the separatist Free Papua Movement (OPM). West Papua is the most heavily militarised region in the country.
Although indigenous Papuans have Melanesian roots, sharing many cultural and ethnic aspects of the indigenous peoples of Papua New Guinea, the eastern half of the island, the two halves of the island had different colonial rulers and this, analysts say, together with other factors has set the Indonesian Papuans apart from their ancient neighbours.  
originally posted at Barnabas Aid

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