What exactly is Saudi Arabia exporting to Indonesia?

According to The Atlantic:

When Saudi Arabia’s King Salman landed in Indonesia on Wednesday, he became the first Saudi monarch to visit the world’s largest Muslim-majority country since 1970. Officials in Jakarta had hoped the visit would help them strengthen business ties and secure $25 billion in resource investments. That’s largely been a bust—as of Thursday, the kingdom has agreed to just one new deal, for a relatively paltry $1 billion.

The article then goes on:

But Saudi Arabia has, for decades, been making investments of a different sort—those aimed at influencing Indonesian culture and religion.

But I think the key sentence in the article is this:

Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse Indonesia.

For some background about Saudi Arabia, see my article on the subject.  It’s not good news.

Some background about Indonesia: (courtesy of OMF):

Indonesia is home to both the largest Muslim population of any country in the world and the largest number of Christians in Southeast Asia.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution.

. . . in the 1960s and 1970s, … tens of thousands of people joined the churches, including many from Muslim backgrounds.

There has been inter-communal fighting between Muslim and Christian groups in Maluku and Central Sulawesi. Frequently conflicts have been initiated by outside “jihad” warriors demanding that the local Muslim communities take control of mixed Christian land areas.

Indonesia, in other words, is a country with a large Muslim majority, with more Muslims than any country in the world, and yet which is committed to religious freedom, and where Christians can and do share the gospel of Jesus Christ with their Muslim neighbours.

However, one can never take such freedom for granted, and one suspects that Saudi influence is not going to do anything to encourage that freedom – or any other freedom.

OMF requests for prayer concerning religious issues include praying about:

* Fanatical Islam breeding ethnic and religious hatred.

*The president and his government as they seek to tackle these issues.


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