Indonesia is a archipelago situated in South-East Asia and comprises of 13 600 islands which stretch for approximately 5000km. Islam was introduced to Indonesia in the 14th century by Gujerati merchants from India. In 1478 a coalition of Muslim princes attack the remains of the Hinduism Empire expunging Hindu from the Indonesian empire. Islam has now become the dominant religion with 87% of the population adhering to Islam, 7% are Christians while the remainder are Buddhist, Catholic or Taoist. In recent years many conflicts have arisen between Muslims, Christians and Indonesia ethnic Chinese population, because of both religious and political differences. The clashes have been severe and 1000's of people from both religions have been murdered and beaten and 100's of Chinese women have been raped.
Indonesia was one of the few countries where Islam did not takeover purely by an invading military force. One feature of Islam that appealed to Indonesian's is that it does not have a caste system such as the system in the Hindu religion. Before Islam was introduced, the king had the power to take a man's wife and land. The people of Indonesia were told that in Allah's eyes all men are made of the same clay.
The Islam found in Indonesia is influenced by Buddhist and Hindu practises which were prevalent prior to Islam. This translates to the fact that of the 190 million Muslims living in Indonesia only 5 to 10% adhere to a relatively purist form of Islam as seen in Pakistan. 30% adhere to a Javanised version of Islam, while the remainder consider themselves as only nominal Muslims.
Although a Muslim dominated population, its political and governing institutions are secular, and have little to do with Islam. Indonesia's Muslim population does not control the countries wealth. Previous governments have restricted Islam's influence by limiting the number of Muslim political parties by often ...