Indonesia: a country with the largest Muslim population in the world. Of two hundred million Indonesians, approximately eighty-seven percent are Muslim, mainly Sunni. There are numerous other groups, a few with a vociferous fundamentalist bent, though a tolerant Islam based on Javan traditions dominates. A saying that has become widespread claims that Indonesia presents Islam’s ‘smiling face’.
Despite this Muslim majority, Indonesia has not become an Islamic state. It remains an experiment of peaceful co-existence of various religions, reflected in the country’s motto ‘Unity in Diversity’. This is neither, however, a secular country. Faith in God, reflected in the country’s six official religions – Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam is reflected in the nation’s Constitution. Christians from various denominations make up about twelve percent of Indonesia’s population. Three percent – seven million Indonesians – adhere to the Catholic faith. The circumstances of Christians however vary considerably from region to region, depending on which of the seventeen thousand islands they inhabit.
In this film we will visit two islands – the phenomenon of the uniquely Catholic island of Flores, with its overflowing seminaries, and the island of Java, with its often uneasy Christian-Muslim relationship, which all at once provides hope that an open dialogue can lead to a peaceful co-existence between the communities.