Date: May 16, 2023
Indonesia (MNN) — Four Muslim students at Teuku Umar University were expelled from a student organization for posting “Happy Good Friday” last month on the group’s social media account.
Bruce Allen with FMI says, “In the post, the students included a special design with a cross and a picture of the university campus. Their congratulations were simply intended to be a form of recognition and support for minority Christians’ celebration of their holy days.”
The university chancellor announced the four students had committed apostasy.
“These four students were forced to apologize to the university and they had to become re-Islamized, which means they had to re-affirm the Shahada – that’s a primary pillar of Islam which is their creed that says there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.”
However, Allen says FMI’s local Christian partners report, “Most Indonesians who are aware of the incident are embarrassed by the chancellor’s reaction, not the four students’ post. Permata (an FMI partner) says, ‘As part of Indonesia, the chancellor should appreciate these students. The four students have shown respect to other religions and have been a good example of Indonesia’s motto: Unity in diversity.’”
Indonesia is mostly Muslim, but this incident took place on just one of thousands of islands in Indonesia.
Allen explains, “What happens on one island doesn’t always have repercussions on the other islands. So you can have pockets of persecution or intolerance against Christian expression in one area and not in other areas.”
Pray for religious tolerance and interfaith friendships in Indonesia. Ask God to encourage Indonesian Christians crossing religious boundaries to share the Gospel with their Muslim neighbors.
Header photo of Indonesian flag. (Photo courtesy of Mufid Majnun/Unsplash)
*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated the four students were expelled. Information has been added to clarify
the students were expelled from their student organization.