Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners

Indonesia executes six drug convicts, five of them foreigners
Widodo has pledged to bring reform to Indonesia

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions

Ban appeals to Indonesia to stop death row executions
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pleaded to Indonesia to stop the execution of prisoners on death row for drug crimes. AFP PHOTO

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person

Pope: 'Death penalty represents failure' – no 'humane' way to kill a person
The pope wrote that the principle of legitimate personal defense isn’t adequate justification to execute someone. Photograph: Zuma/Rex

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)

Obama becomes first president to visit US prison   (US Justice Systems / Human Rights)
US President Barack Obama speaks as he tours the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma, July 16, 2015 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)

US Death Penalty (Justice Systems / Human Rights)
Woman who spent 23 years on US death row cleared (Photo: dpa)


"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Young Indonesians fight intolerance in Kupang

Deutsche Welle, 30 July 2012

Communal tension in the Indonesian city of Kupang is reminiscent of the religious conflict that gripped the country in the late 90's. But what is different this time is that the young people are speaking out against it.

Charlie, whose real name is Carolus Loli, is one of the founders of the Peacemaker Community of Kupang (KOMPAK). KOMPAK is a civil society group whose objective is to promote solidarity and peace in Kupang, the provincial capital of the East Nusa Tenggara province in southeast Indonesia.

Founded in February 2011, KOMPAK is still in its infancy. "The group has grown fast," Charlie told DW. "Today, we have 10 members, tomorrow there will be 12. KOMPAK grows by word of mouth." 

Former President Suharto's last
years in power were tumultuous
The youth group started off with 16 people - four from each of the four major religions practiced in Kupang - Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and Hinduism. Charlie said their objective was to promote human rights and peace. KOMPAK, he insisted, was open to everyone, irrespective of their religious affiliations.

Not again

Like most Indonesian cities with a majority Christian population, Kupang too suffered a great deal in widespread communal riots in the 1990s during the last years of Suharto's rule. The devastation caused by the riots still haunts the people of Kupang. And they don't want to experience it again.

Kupang is predominantly Protestant, but most of the region has a Catholic majority. There are several mosques and Hindu temples in the city as well.

Pastor Helmy Sailana, another founding member of KOMPAK, told DW that he had visited several mosques, churches and temples, and everyone, he said, wanted peace in Kupang.

Right to worship

One of the main triggers of the new protests was related to the construction of mosques in the city. Such permits for the construction of mosques are difficult to get in Kupang - something radical Muslim groups have been protesting. 

Most Indonesians are against
communal violence
To resolve the conflict, KOMPAK offers its services to help Muslim communities get mosque permits.

"Every community has the right to worship," said Sailana, who believed the conflict in the late 1990s was also caused by similar provocations.

Countrywide peace building

KOMPAK is attracting many students. The group regularly organizes inter-religious seminars and workshops in schools and universities where it discusses ideas for peace building in Kupang and the rest of Indonesia. Last year, KOMPAK joined a network of Indonesian peace groups and began to work closely with them to promote nationwide tolerance.

Author: Edith Koesoemawiria
Editor: Shamil Shams

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Taking Indonesian Muslim Fashions Around the World

Jakarta Globe, Sylviana Hamdani, July 28, 2012

The hijab is a covering for the hair and neck worn by Muslim
women. (Photo courtesy of, Sylviana Hamdani) 
Related articles

Local fashion designers aim to turn Indonesia into the world’s Muslim fashion Mecca within the next decade, and in a country with the largest Muslim population, their goal is a realistic one.

More than 85 percent of Indonesia’s population, or more than 200 million people, are Muslim, according to the Central Statistics Agency..

“Indonesia’s Muslim fashion is so unique and varied,” said Muslim fashion designer Nanida Jenahara Nasution.

“That’s mostly because we’re blessed with a wide variety of cultures and traditions. There’s no other country in the world that has as many and as diverse cultures as Indonesia.”

Jenahara is a co-founder of the fast-growing Hijabers Community, a group of well-educated young Muslim women who wear the hijab.

Jenahara started her self-named Muslim fashion label in mid-2011. The daughter of Indonesian actress and fashion designer Ida Royani, she wanted to provide a “chic and edgy” alternative look for Indonesian Muslim women.

Likewise, fashion designer Hanna Faridl said she felt blessed with the country’s cultural diversity.

“Indonesia is so rich,” she said. “As a fashion designer, I just have to look around me to get inspired.”

Hanna is a co-founder of the fashion blog She and two friends, Fifi Alvianto and Anneke Scorpy, also started the fashion label Casa Elana in March last year, offering sleek and modern designs for women who wear the hijab.

But although these designers have established flourishing businesses in their local communities, they said they had struggled to reach a wider market. Jenahara and Hanna both dream of taking their place in the international fashion arena.

“Events like Jakarta Fashion Week and Indonesia Fashion Week do highlight Indonesian Muslim fashion,” Hanna said. “But they mostly feature well-known designers. What do we, as start-up businesses, have to do to get recognized?”

It can be tough to compete with larger labels to get their designs into stores.

“Malls and department-stores expect us to pay very high consignment rates,” Jenahara said.

Young entrepreneur Diajeng Lestari has come up with a solution. Last August, the 26-year-old entrepreneur created an online department store for Muslim women called

“We’re the first Muslim fashion e-commerce [site] in the world,” said Diajeng. “We aim to promote Indonesian Muslim fashion products in the world.”

HijUp is an abbreviation for Hijab Up.

“We hope our website will help all Muslim women feel ‘up’ when wearing the hijab,” she said.

Last week, the website announced its international e-commerce functionality. By clicking the British flag on the right-hand corner of the website, visitors can read the text in English and see the prices in US dollars.

“The website was originally designed for Indonesian customers,” Diajeng said. “But we’ve received many requests from buyers from many other countries to buy our products.”

At first, Diajeng and her team handled international sales by request only. But as international sales escalated, they believed they needed to create a special feature for buyers in other countries.

“Thirty percent of our sales are international sales,” she said.

“And we’re so proud of this fact. It proves Indonesian Muslim fashion products are much desired internationally.”

Diajeng said the website’s top foreign location for buyers was Malaysia, while the demand-leading Western countries were the United States and United Kingdom.

“Muslim communities are growing rapidly in those countries,” she said.

The website has a clean design that makes it easy to navigate. Its home page features current promotions, favorite products and new arrivals, along with tutorials about how to fashionably wear the hijab.

When visitors click on a product, a new page opens, presenting it from multiple angles. The page also offers detailed information on the item, including its material, size and measurements.

Visitors are required to sign in as members to make a purchase.

Currently, the website has more than 800,000 members worldwide.

Indonesian buyers pay for their purchases with a bank transfer or via Internet banking. International buyers pay through PayPal accounts.

The prices range from Rp 32,500 ($3.50) for accessories to Rp 500,000 for dresses.

Buyers can choose their own delivery methods. Delivery costs are added to the total amount of the purchase.

Deliveries take just two or three days in Indonesia and about a week overseas.

The designers said their presence on has helped boost sales.

“ has helped us a lot,” Hanna said.

“We don’t have our own boutique yet. So, whenever we have something new, we just drop it on the website. It’s the one door that leads to anywhere in the world.”

Jenahara also sees the potential for growth.

“With, I believe Indonesia will become the international Muslim fashion Mecca way before 2020,” she said.

Currently, 30 Muslim fashion designers feature products on the website. Most are young, with between three and five years in the industry.

“ is more like a bridge or a highway,” Diajeng said.

“We’re an infrastructure that links Indonesian Muslim fashion designers and the buyers.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yudhoyono Orders AGO Probe Into 1965 ‘Serious Rights Violations’

Jakarta Globe, Rangga Prakosa, July 25, 2012

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, second right, addresses a press
conference  at the Attorney General’s Office in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Yudhoyono  said he had ordered the AGO to follow up on recent findings by
the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), which said on
Monday  there had been serious human rights violations and crimes against
humanity in the purge targeting the left following the failed 1965 coup attempt.
(Antara Photo/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Related articles

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the attorney general to follow up on the National Commission on Human Rights’ recent report on human rights violations during the Indonesian government’s 1965-66 anti-communist purge.

The Commission, abbreviated as Komnas HAM, announced the findings of its four-year investigation on Monday, saying it had found evidence of serious human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The purge is reckoned to have killed more than half a million people.

“What Komnas HAM has reported will be studied by the attorney general, who is expected to report to me and other relevant parties. We want a good, just, factual, smart and constructive settlement,” Yudhoyono told a press conference at the Attorney General’s Office in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Yudhoyono said he would also consult with the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), the House of Representatives (DPR), the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) and the Supreme Court, among other institutions.

He said that he had studied the strategies that South Africa, Cambodia, Bosnia and other sites of gross human rights abuses had used to deal with their violent histories.

“We can pick whichever, in order to settle the historical issue justly. We have to think clearly, and be honest and objective about what happened in the past. We cannot distort history and facts,” the president said.

Speaking after the press conference, Attorney General Basrief Arief said he would “probe” the Komnas HAM findings, and promised to share the results of his investigation with the public.

“We call this kind of probe a ‘pre-prosecution.’ The investigation will decide whether or not there will be enough evidence [to bring the case to court],” Basrief explained.

Komnas HAM’s report cited incidents of murder, extermination, slavery, forced eviction, deprivation of freedom, torture, rape and other abuses.

The purge was catalyzed by an attempt to overthrow the country’s founding President Sukarno. In the immediate aftermath of the attempted coup, Maj. Gen. Suharto mobilized his force and effectively took control of the country. He would eventually become president and serve for more than 30 years.

“These acts were part of attacks launched against civilians according to the rulers’ policy,” Komnas HAM commissioner Nurkholis said.

Nurkholis declined to provide names, but did not hesitate to point fingers at the Command for the Restoration of Security and Public Order (Kopkamtib), the pervasive security network set up by Suharto following the 1965 coup attempt.

“The military officials who failed to prevent, stop or take action against human rights violations are responsible for the incident,” he said.

The Komnas HAM investigation team, which was established on June 1, 2008, and worked until April 30, 2012, questioned 349 witnesses who either heard about incidents during the violence or experienced it firsthand.

Komnas HAM attributed the length of the investigation to several factors, including the wide geographic area covered, budget constraints and the fact that many of the witnesses had died since the time of the events.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Australian Aid Program to Help 3 Million Indonesian Women

Jakarta Globe, July 16, 2012

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr looks at a relief during his visit to the Borobudur
 Temple near Yogyakarta. Carr said over the weekend that his country was cognizant
of human rights issues in Papua. (JG Photo/Boy T. Harjanto)
Related articles

Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bob Carr, announced on Sunday that Australia would help about three million Indonesian women with jobs, family planning and increased protection against domestic violence as part of a $60 million aid program.

“Indonesia continues to make strong progress in women’s rights, education and jobs. Nearly half of all school students are girls, and more women than men are enrolled in universities,” said the minister, who is on his first official visit to Indonesia.

“But there’s more to be done, especially in rural and eastern Indonesia where female literacy, income and reproductive health are poor.”

He cited the stark statistical contrast between Indonesia and Australia: “An Indonesian woman is 30 times more likely to die in childbirth than her Australian counterpart.”

He continued, “Many women continue to have little or no say in communal decision-making — a result of poor economic and social standing. That’s why we’re reaching out to three million rural women — helping them with jobs, anti-violence programs and choices on whether, when and how many children to have. And this program has strong Indonesian support — another sign of Australia’s close relationship with our northern neighbor.”

According to a statement from AusAID, the program will be delivered, beginning later this year, “by AusAID through Indonesian providers and in-country non-government organizations.”

Over the next four years, the initiative will help poor women find local jobs and fight discrimination at work, fund social programs such as health care and schooling for children, and provide contraception and family planning advice, among other objectives.

Carr also announced a $215,000 grant to support the Unesco program in Borobudur, Indonesia.

The Borobudur temple site, a Unesco World Heritage site, is one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations, “but few tourist dollars flow to local families.” Carr said. “The benefits from Borobudur’s popularity should reach the 55,000 local villagers who call this area home.”

The Australian program mainly seeks “to boost local jobs and tourism income through training for local workers on heritage tourism and quality handicraft production,” according to a press release.

“There is tremendous potential to help local communities by bringing their handicrafts, such as textiles, ceramics and wood carving to international tourists,” Carr said. “The hundreds of thousands of Australians who visit Borobudur would be pleased to know they are also supporting the local community.”

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Minorities shrug off guarantee of freedoms

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta, National,  July 15 2012

Followers of minority faiths have dismissed the remark on state protection of religious freedoms, citing inconsistency on the ground and in the courts.

Constitutional Court chief Mahfud MD told visiting  German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday that people could even be atheists and communists as long as they did not ‘interfere’ with people who chose a religion.

A Shia follower, Iklil Al Milal, 40, for instance, said Mahfud’s statement contradicted with last week’s verdict on his brother, Tajul Muluk, who was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy against Islam.

Judges at the Sampang District Court in Madura, East Java declared Tajul’s Shia teaching defied mainstream Sunni Muslims in Indonesia.

“A smart man like Mahfud must know that many countries have officially recognized Shia as another denomination in Islam beside Sunni,” Iklil said, adding that he expected Indonesia to also recognize his belief soon.

During his brother’s trial, he said, many expert witnesses had told the judges that the court was not mandated to settle the differences between the Shia and Sunni.

“Both denominations have thousands of years of differences. Indonesians should have learned to live side by side with their Shia neighbors,” said Iklil, quoting testimonies in one of his brother’s hearings.

Iklil was among dozens of Shia followers, who had to leave their hometown in Sampang, to avoid hostile locals. Last December, a group of people burned down an Islamic boarding school in Sampang, owned by Tajul.

The mobs accused Tajul of propagating heretic Islamic teachings. Now, Iklil resides in Sidoarjo, East Java, living separately from his wife and five children in Malang, East Java.

Iklil said Mahfud’s statement was too good to be true.

“He can say as he pleases. But in reality minorities are prosecuted in this country. Ahmadiyah and Shia followers, for instance, still have to fight for their religious freedom."

“We are also Indonesian citizens. We have rights to live in this land.”

Meanwhile, another minority religion follower, Mukhsin of Ahmadiyah, lauded Mahfud’s statement and agreed that Indonesia already had a legal foundation to guarantee the freedom of religion.

However, the exercise of such freedom is often not protected by authorities, he said.

Often followers of minority Islam sects in Indonesia, such as Shia and Ahmadiyah, become objects of prosecution because the majority of Sunnis here consider the two sects deviating from mainstream Islamic teachings.

On Friday locals attacked the residential area of around 500 Ahmadis living in Mukhsin’s village in Cisalada, Bogor, in West Java. Mukhsin said locals objected to the visit of a group of Netherlands’ researchers and journalists, who wanted to tape a story about Ahmadis’ life.

“The journalists only wanted to cover our agriculture activities. They were brought here by the Ahmadiyah’s headquarters; we didn’t know about their scheduled visit,” he said.

Five Ahmadis were injured, and two of them were taken to hospital, Mukhsin said.

During the attack, only five police officers appeared at the scene. Only after locals disbanded themselves, some 200 officers showed up, he said.

“Prior to the attack, I came to Ciampea police district [in Bogor] on Thursday to request more security, considering a rumor about FPI [the Islam Defenders Front]’s plan to attack Ahmadiyah community in Parung [Bogor] on July 15 [this Sunday],” he said.

Police, he said, had accepted his reports, but took no action. Therefore, police failed to safeguard the Ahmadis despite an imminent threat.

“We are not a Muslim-based country, but a Pancasila-based country. We are protected by the law. But police did not make sufficient measures to prevent any attack on us,” Mukhsin told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

According to the 1965 law on blasphemy, the state recognizes Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.

The Court under Mahfhudo in 2010 upheld the law on blasphemy. Rights activists say the law lends justification of violence to minority faiths such as the Ahmadiyah and Shia. (yps/riz)

Related Articles:

Mahfud MD: Supreme Court chief.
 (Kompas/Riza Fathoni)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Indonesia's Islamic Boarding Schools Used to Spread Messages of Tolerance

Jakarta Globe, Ulma Haryanto, July 10, 2012

Search for Common Ground staff member Zeva works with students on a
radio program at Pesantren Qathratul Falah in Banten. (JG Photo/Ulma Haryanto)
Related articles

With intolerance on the rise in Indonesia, Islamic boarding schools, known as pesantrens , are proving fertile ground not only for the spreading of radicalism, but also for efforts to counter it.

Search for Common Ground, an international NGO that aims to foster better conflict-resolution, started a program last year that fosters messages of peace and tolerance from the hearts of pesantren students.

“This program is a peace campaign, an education in tolerance and differences that is aimed at pesantren students,” Search for Common Ground program officer Suraji told the Jakarta Globe.

Suraji, a pesantren graduate himself, is aware of how Islamic schools are in the spotlight as suspected breeding grounds for terrorism. He referred to the “accidental” explosion that rocked Umar bin Khattab Islamic Boarding School in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, last year.

Also recently revealed was a network of schools linked to radical cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who is serving a 15-year jail sentence for funding a terrorist group that was planning attacks against Westerners and political leaders.

Bashir ran the Al Mukmin pesantren in Ngruki, Central Java, which was said to be a recruiting ground for would-be suicide bombers and militants.

Among the school’s graduates were Amrozi, Ali Imron and Ali Ghufron who played vital roles in the 2002 Bali bombings. Amrozi and Ali Ghufron were executed in 2008. Ali Imron is now serving life in prison.

“Indonesia has more than 20,000 pesantrens and should be seen as a strategic target for educating tolerance and peace. They should have a more active role in peace campaigns,” Suraji said.

Peace campaigners are turning to community radio to spread their message because it has the potential to reach most local residents.

“People are already familiar with radio broadcasts. In areas that are blindspots for television or print, community radio thrives,” said Adi Rumansyah of West Java Community Radio Network (JRK), a consultant for the program.

Adi said that community radio stations win easily over bigger radio stations when it comes to community ownership.

“It broadcasts local content, so local residents can send their greetings to each other,” Adi continued.

Pesantren community radio, he added, can strengthen social bonds since many people look up to local religious leaders. “Having a pesantren community radio opens a channel of interaction between pesantren and the people living around it,” Adi said.

And what better message to broadcast than one of peace and tolerance?

Partnering with the Wahid Institute, the Society for Pesantren and Community Development (P3M) and JRK, Search for Common Ground engaged 10 pesantrens, from Banten, Tangerang, Bogor, Tasikmalaya, Cirebon, Cilacap, Solo, Lamongan, Palembang and Makassar. The program started in September 2011 and will run until next year.

“Search for Common Ground provides them with the hardware and radio equipment. Then we invite several students and a tutor for a five-day training course in Jakarta to help them with the basics of how to run their own community radio station,” Suraji explained.

The training is not just on broadcasting and journalism, he added, but also on peaceful Islamic values.

“For the first two days we re-introduce them to the importance of tolerance and respecting differences, that Islam should be rahmatan-lil-alamin [blessing for all creation],” he said.

“We also chose pesantrens that are already familiar with the concept, but located in areas that are prone to conflicts,” he said when asked about their target group.

Surveys by rights groups revealed that West Java has the highest level of religious intolerance, followed by Central Java, Banten and South Sulawesi.

After the training, Search for Common Ground conducts quarterly monitoring of the 10 pesantrens, while seeking opportunities to engage more pesantrens in the program.

Nur Ridho, 31, a participant from Solo, said Central Java was home to many Islamic schools groups. “I am glad that our pesantren was chosen for this program,” he said. “I hope that this can help us spread the message of peace.”

Merkel steps up cooperation with Indonesia

Deutsche Welle, 10 July 2012

On her first trip to Southeast Asia as German chancellor, Angela Merkel and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono decided to cooperate more closely in areas such as defense, the economy and the environment.

Merkel and the Indonesian president signed the Jakarta Declaration during the German chancellor's first visit to Indonesia since 1995. The agreement aims to take bilateral ties "to a higher comprehensive level," enabling the two countries "especially to develop our strategic cooperation together," Merkel said at a news conference.

Closer defense, economic ties

Germany and Indonesia will also strengthen defense cooperation, although no concrete deals were included in the declaration. President Yudhoyono expressed an interest, however, in German Leopard 2 tanks, made by German manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.
"We'll be very open and transparent about this," Yudhoyono told reporters, adding that Indonesia's military equipment needed updating and that Germany was one of the partners Indonesia could turn to for supplies. 

The Jakarta Declaration also aims to strengthen trade ties. Recently, bilateral trade grew by 7 percent to more than seven billion dollars (5.7 billion euros). German delegates estimate that figure could go up to $15 million by 2015.

Fiscal praise

Being in Indonesia did not keep Merkel away from her most pressing issue - the eurozone crisis. She told reporters that German growth would slow down this year because of weaker exports to budget-battling neighboring countries.
She then praised Indonesia, which managed to slash its debt from 80 percent of GDP to 24 percent in a matter of years, for its fiscal achievements. 

Merkel visited a church and a mosque
"I think that's an example of what can be achieved and what Europe has to achieve, especially given the fact that Indonesia was able to achieve this over a short time, in fact in a few years."

Religion and science

Earlier on Tuesday, Merkel visited the Protestant Immanuel Church as well as Istiqlal Mosque, the region's biggest. Indonesia has the biggest Muslim population worldwide, with 200 million Indonesians following Islam.

Before returning to Germany on Wednesday, Merkel will visit the site of the country's tsunami early-warning system, which was built with German assistance.

"I believe that we can cooperate more closely in science and research, and the tsunami warning center is but one example of that," she told reporters.

ng/sej (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Indonesia’s Borobudur Is World’s Largest Buddhist Temple: Guinness

Jakarta Globe, July 04, 2012

Artists perform a traditional dance in front of Borobudur Temple in Magelang,
Central Java, during a commemoration of the International Dance Day on Apr. 28.
(Antara Photo/Anis Efizudin)
Related articles

Guinness World Records recently named Borobudur temple in the Central Java town of Magelang as the world’s largest Buddhist temple, an Indonesian official said on Wednesday.

“Borobudur has been officially recognized by Guinness World Records in London, UK, as the world’s largest Buddhist archeological temple; under claim number 396-198,” said Purnomo Siswoprasetjo, the director of Borobudur-Prambanan tourism management.

“From now on, Borobudur temple is officially one of the Guinness World Records title holders,” he added.

Purnomo said Guinness put Borobudur on its records list on June 27, and that his office received an official certificate from Guinness on the new honor.

The registration process for the granting of the title took some three months to complete, he added.

“We hope this means more support and benefits, especially for the marketing and promotion [of Borobudur] at the international level.”

On its website, Guinness states: “The largest Buddhist temple in the world is Borobudur, near Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia, built between AD 750 and 842.”

It says the 60,000-cubic-meter stone structure stands 34.5 meters tall, with its base measuring 123 by 123 meters.

Borobudur was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1991. The temple has long been a major tourist attraction for Central Java and Yogyakarta.

Purnomo said in 2011 alone it drew 250,000 visitors, an increase of 15 percent from the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2012, the number of visitors was up by 16 percent compared with the figure over the same period last year.

Purnomo said his office had also registered Prambanan temple, which is situated on the border of Central Java and Yogyakarta, as the world’s largest Hindu temple. The result of that submission is pending verification from Guinness.