4,500 couples participate in Indonesian interfaith marriage ceremony
July 20th, 2011
02:35 PM ET

4,500 couples participate in Indonesian interfaith marriage ceremony

By Kathy Quiano, CNN

Jakarta, Indonesia (CNN) - More than 4,500 Indonesian couples tied the knot at a Jarkarta sports stadium on Tuesday, in what the event’s organizers claim was the world's largest interfaith wedding event.

The couples were married in Islamic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist and Hindu ceremonies – with each participating in whichever rites were appropriate. The event’s organizers said the mass wedding was aimed at helping poor couples who couldn’t afford to pay for their own weddings.

A humanitarian organization, Pondok Kasih Foundation, initiated the event and worked with Jakarta’s government and private sponsors to stage the mass wedding.

In a press release, organizers said the event was focused on promoting Pancasila, Indonesia’s state philosophy, which encompasses five basic principles that include belief in one God, just and civilized society, unity and democracy.

“Our value of Pancasila is facing increasing challenges,” the release said. “Our harmonious society is facing increasing threats from extremism and disturbance of public peace.”

Indonesia has seen an uptick in violent attacks from radical Muslim groups in recent years and some human rights groups warn of a general rise in religious intolerance. The Setara Peace and Democracy Institute has recorded a significant rise in attacks on religious minorities.

“We can all be united despite our differences in belief,” the organizers’ statement said, “and we can make a difference in our community that is in need. It is hard to imagine that in our modern society, we have instances of our community that could not afford marriage registration due to their economic circumstances.”

The organizers said the mass wedding record was certified by a United Kingdom-based group called Royal World Records. A search of the Guinness Book of World Records' website did not turn up records on mass weddings.

The 4,541 couples at Tuesday’s Jakarta event were dressed in colorful traditional wear, reflecting diverse ethnic origins.

Asmar Salim and Marsiem, both 69, were teenagers when they first married in Muslim ceremony in 1960. Fifteen years ago, a fire gutted their home and destroyed their marriage records. “When our marriage certificate got burned, we had no money to get a new one because I was unemployed,” Asmar says. “I just got a job recently.”

After 13 children and 10 grand children, they married again on Tuesday. Asmar is a street food vendor and his wife is a baby sitter.

Aprianus Taneo, 30, and his wife Jendelina, 27, got married in a Protestant church last year but couldn't afford the fees for a civil ceremony.

Aprianus says they participated in Tuesday’s ceremony to get a marriage license, which gives their son legal status.

"We heard about this from our church and it was for free so we decided to register,” he said. “We'll need our marriage certificate for our son when he goes to school. It'll just be easier for him. We’re happy we have this opportunity”.

While many couples were getting married for the first time on Tuesday, many were also looking to legalize previous unions. News media were barred from the section where couples getting married for the first time were seated because that section was the focus of a live television broadcast.

Under Indonesia’s 1974 Marriage Law, a marriage ceremony must be conducted in accordance with a recognized religion before it could be registered. Muslim marriages must be registered with the local Office of Religious Affairs, while non-Muslim marriages must be registered with the Civil Registry Office.

While the law does not explicitly prohibit inter-religious marriages, the regulations make such unions almost impossible.

Home to the world’s largest Muslim population, Indonesia’s constitution recognizes six religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.

"It is just different, a lot of different tribes, traditions, and traditional wedding costumes,” said Aprianus, as he watched clerics from various faith traditions marry couples on a stage in the stadium. “So we know that even though we're from various traditions; we are still the same, brothers and sisters."

–CNN's Meidyana Rayana contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Indonesia • Interfaith issues

soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. promise ezeoha

    dis world is of strange thing

    July 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    The whole Koran is a declaration of hate and war against Christians.

    Islam and Christianity or "umma" and Christian Church don't go together like hell and heaven.

    A Christian should never marry a Muslim. It is sad, but true that probably the Muslim spouse will make the Christian spouse turning apostate (converting from Christian faith to Islam). The other direction (Muslim converts from Islam to Christian faith) is very unlikely. Put one rotten apple into a box with good apples. After a while all apples will be rotten. Let a Muslim and a Christian marry. After a while both will be Muslims.

    The Islam is a religion of exclusivity. It cannot tolerate anything beside itself. It spreads like cancer.

    Concerning the events in northern Africa: I guess, that is all a big satanic show. They act a play, called "outward democracy" for a while, in order to get some money from the Western World. After they have rebuilt their economies with Western means, they will turn hyper-Islamic again.

    Solely Christianity could cause true and spiritual progress in northern Africa. Under the protection of NATO forces, Christian missonaries should preach the gospel there, and baptize the converted Muslims. In the case, a big part of the population had converted, democracy (inward true) could be established.

    Lie and murder belongs to the Muslim concept. Let us beware of them, especially when they behave kindly, maybe they just hide their true intentions.

    July 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  3. Muneef


    July 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  4. William Demuth

    Do they engage in a 4500 couple honeymoon afterwards?

    Gonna need like a half ton of butter flavored Crisco to grease the wheels

    July 21, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  5. SmarterthanU

    Not one person here is smiling – lol!

    July 21, 2011 at 8:58 am |
  6. Methusalem2000

    Recipe for a spiritual holocaust. A Christian should never marry an anti-Christ Muslim.

    July 21, 2011 at 6:50 am |
    • William Demuth

      And I thought I was a pig.

      Your God is a lie and you are a bigot.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • SoundOfForest

      God is true and men are liers. Truth is objective and exclusive.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • EQ8Rhomes

      I kNOW that muslims accept Jesus as one of their Prophets. So, in spite of our fear of their radicals (too many), we can't claim that they are anti Christ. Unless you mean Anti-Christ, which would be calling Muslims the Devil.
      All this is funny to me.

      December 9, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  7. Mad Ole Lady

    Happy marriages to all. The topic went from marriage to cannibalism. Alrighty then.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  8. frank

    They all look really ecstatic...

    July 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  9. SoundOfForest

    Indonesia's ill treatment of infidels haven't changed.

    July 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Hello SOForest,

      LOve your Muslim Cohorts and give them not One But Two Coats and Turn the Other Cheek,,,,,,,When will Christians Stand Up and Declare Themselves the Righteous People of ALL The World due Their Uncompromising Declaration of an Only One GOD WHo undisputedly Has Millions, Perhaps Trillions OF Sons and Daughters, HIS Gods and Goddesses?

      (I do so Hate ONe god REligions that Takes away from this ONe god all hiS Sons and Daughters)

      July 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • SoundOfForest

      Richard, Christians do love Muslims. The Bible says the exact opposite thing on God from what you are saying. There is one true God and we are all mere creatures and can never be gods. Repent of your wrong theology and filthy life and believe in the Divine Savior Jesus alone for salvation. Man cannot be a god. Man cannot reach God without trusting in Jesus alone. The Word of God says so.

      July 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  10. Muneef

    Guess have to worry more from those non Muslims? Watch out more as well to what they feed you with...!

    Indonesia’s police have arrested a 29-year-old Philippians woman for killing and eating humans. This woman has killed and eaten more than 30 girls and many other humans including her husband and had kept their meat in refrigerator.She had been enjoying eating human meat for long time.


    July 20, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Muneef

      Just wonder how many out of those Brides and Grooms will endup to be in some ones dish or some food party...! 

      Seems as per links below we are getting there;

      Middle Ages
      Historical instances of widespread cannibalism are most often connected to extreme social upheavals, such as drought, plague and war, which result in devastating famine. For example, reports of cannibalism were recorded during the First Crusade, as famished Crusaders reportedly fed on the bodies of their dead opponents following the Siege of Ma'arrat al-Numan. Amin Maalouf also discusses further cannibalism incidents on the march to Jerusalem, and to the efforts made to delete mention of these from western history.

      Horrific global food crisis is looming
      In case you haven't noticed, the world is on the verge of a horrific global food crisis.  At some point, this crisis will affect you and your family.  It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but it is going to happen.  Crazy weather and horrifying natural disasters have played havoc with agricultural production in many areas of the globe over the past couple of years.  Meanwhile, the price of oil has begun to skyrocket.  The entire global economy is predicated on the ability to use massive amounts of inexpensive oil to cheaply produce food and other goods and transport them over vast distances.  Without cheap oil the whole game changes.  Topsoil is being depleted at a staggering rate and key aquifers all over the world are being drained at an alarming pace.  Global food prices are already at an all-time high and they continue to move up aggressively.  So what is going to happen to our world when hundreds of millions more people cannot afford to feed themselves?

      July 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Jose

      Dude.. we have been on the verge of a global food shortage for 30 years.

      July 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Thanks for the comment but what am saying is that this shortage is growing faster with that changes that has taken over since 30 years ago which means that the world is not going the right direction to solve such issues but rather making it worse and must be for a reason or some thing is wrong but cowards or hypocrites are keeping quite each fearing for his life or greedy for his own pleasures... And the Real Change is to fix this rather than reducing people or populations to maintain stability rather than grow ahead of it...as should be done.
      You see now this mass marriages which I notice being grown to be practiced in several countries to support those who can not afford marriage, ok now how much does that contribute to growth of  global populations...can we deprive them of such earthly pleasures of building families of more mouths to feed when food and water heading on fast to the shortage.
      Find below beautiful remarks made by Kaiser in other blog I copied and pasted for you to read...thanks again.
      Richard S Kaiser
      Hello Muneef,
      I am too aware of the Direness Straights of Our Time wherewith the Globalizing of Increased numbers of Humane Omnivores such as ourselves may soon reach a point in Time as to become cannibalistically endowed might well happen. However, I do not foresee such to happen and I base this assumption on the Chinese Omnivores who eat just about anything and I mean it!
      Otherly Nations apart from China will fall in step with Chinese Omnivorous consumptions of insects and sea creatures most have not yet deemed delectable and most of the Westerly Admonitions of Omnivorism may well have to put up or starve!
      July 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
      Hi, R.S.Kaiser.

      I totally agree...to them food is knowledge...their supermarkets are one of the richest in food stuff...that might not all know of or eat of...
      The mistake that our expansion has gone vertical only and horisiontly food is not grown...monopolizing food resources and now with fuel prices hike and scarcity....in addition to natural disasters,global warming,erosions,slash economy,global populations increase all these factors make foods and necessities  day by day become more expensive unaffordable which becomes worse during conflicts at land or sea.it either eats your savings or gets you in to debt and become poorer by the day...

      How much fertile lands close to river resources that are due conflicts or intentionally deprived from financial capitals and knowhow management can be applied to cover the world hunger...! How much land is not being utilized for agriculture....say from "The Lake Victoria" bordering countries;
      Or more here;

      Then "The Nile (White/Blue)Rivers" bordering countries...

      water is life,we need waters to grow our lands for our feed rather than look for oil to buy our foods or await charities....
      All spending,investing in tourism luxury and pleasures or in high up to the sky buildings but no one of those we hear of in Forbes magazine spends in agriculture & Horticulture projects when they have all the power and facilities for such needs and knowledge.... They are happy appearing big in numbers competing towards same but God knows how much that will make them suffer if they do not use it to break in to some change of increasing supplies rather than reducing populations.... What we see today in famine countries such as east Africa is like hell on earth seeing people suffer as being in fire with out there being a fire...(The Sun Heat,The Hunger,The Thirst,The Illnesses,The Dying of closest relatives,No Roofs over head,No Peace,No Mercy what so ever....rate race like each wants to live on account of the other,ready to kill for extra share.... There are many resources other than fuel or gas oils to produce our needs for all activities and needs but the researches and secrets of such are being hid in favor of the oil lords and sheiks who are ready to wipe from the ground of earth any one brings alternatives for power just as did the News Media Lords for whom stands on their way....

      Remember the joke they made to prove the powers of monopoly few years ago when they (NATO) had used the grains to produce Organic fuel oil which has had immediate effect on people in the 3 world when prices rose and became scarce leading into a similar situation...

      Guess that Zombi blog few months ago was as an advanced prediction of the MidEast Spring and The East African Famine...expect soon some thing at the Euro Zone of the failing economies...

      Could that be a result of the Multinational Companies that has no nationality and cares only for increasing profits and not caring about environment nor sustainability or development of any countries economies or their populations... 

      It is time for such dinosaurs to have a big bang and let every body work and live as a small or medium business owner rather than being a slave worker at such inconsiderate giant multinational companies who gave no chance to smaller family businesses eating it one by one taking it over or crash it down..   

      July 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Hello again Muneef,

      So Cannabilism in a third world country has Fruitioned! Most Humane Omnivores of the Worldly would rather not Eat their Brethren but who Knows what is Possible as we Near the End of An Age?

      July 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • News Flash

      Richard Kaiser
      In this country we write from left to right.

      July 21, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Muneef

      Hi again Richard S Kaiser,
      Actually being a Muslim am not allowed to eat certain meats and certain kills or slaughter practices...but then it tell us that if we had to eat with intentions of necessity to stay alive being the only food available and no alternatives...but not when alternatives are available....!  You know what that means, it means even at times when those are not available you will be having no alternatives....we already hear about people have eaten out of starvation rats, co-ckroaches,cats,dogs...soon human will be in the list of food chain....although now he is in the list of human organs spare parts...! How horrible the picture is of such existing signs of what could become of the world if it continues it's downfall ...!! We have always ignored the signs and never worked against it but rather promoted it by the increased it by corruptions,conflicts and wars...!?!

      July 21, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  11. Muneef

    Indonesia...a beautiful country although scattered into many island making it difficult for the mixed population to integrate since each minority or majority is holding a island and only the biggest of them has that mix of culture...

    Indonesia is considered to be the biggest Islamic state...most of the Indonesian Islamic families have derived from Hadramies of the southern part of Yemen who were so very famous merchants who traded all along the Indian Ocean shores extended from East Africa to South East Asia and maybe into China as well...

    July 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • EQ8Rhomes

      Indonesia was Hindu, etc. before the Muslims arrived.

      December 9, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  12. Nonimus


    July 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Nonimus

      yep that seems to be the case. US Consti.tution

      July 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bob Bobberson

      Constitutional document

      July 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Nonimus

      How'd you do that?

      July 21, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      If you don't get a reply, I will tell you, but not here.
      Your "password" will include a reference to the origins of your moniker.

      July 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
  13. Nonimus

    Did Belief Blog turn off their moderation notice?
    My posts are disappearing and I'm wondering if they are getting "moderated" without telling me so.


    July 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      No. Also you can get "looks like you've already said that" on a non-posted post. Some just disappear. Not content, not bad word fragments, not name, not email address, not I.P. address. Still working on it. Thought it was flaw in "reply" so.ft.wa.re. Not. So = ?

      July 20, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • William Demuth


      It seems to boot out to OPENDNS servers when you break out of the HTML.

      July 21, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  14. Nonimus


    July 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  15. justathought

    Opps! I goofed! I ment to type: "I'm serious..."

    July 20, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  16. wfamyl

    this article was reposted on worldfaith.org

    July 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  17. justathought

    Please, I serious, what is an athiest wedding like? It is hard for me to imagine a wedding cerimony withouut reading some kind of scripture and having no prayer.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Reality

      Google : "atheist wedding ceremony script" to get 68,100 suggestions

      July 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Goddy!

      The non-religioous wedding I have been to are usually both tasteful and original (as they are not told how it muct proceed by some religious authority). And they usually are a lot of fun.

      I always find it weird to go to a church wedding and watch 90% of the service be about the religion promoting itself and doing obediance rituals, and only 10% is actually about the wedding and the married couple. Same with funerals – religion just cannot stand having anything less than the majority of the attention.

      July 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      My atheist wedding consisted of filing taxes jointly.

      July 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  18. justathought

    Fortyfivehundred couples getting married at the same place? How about guests? That had to be one of the largest wedding suppers/parties/receptions ~ whatever.

    July 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  19. Reality

    Bravo!!! Hopefully there were some "closet" agnostics and atheists in the mix.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  20. justathought

    faih, hope love, but the greatest of these is love.

    July 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • SoundOfForest

      Tell the source, and it also has a context. Human love is unreliable.

      July 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • SoundOfForest

      Just-, since you didn't. The quote is from I Corinthians chapter 13 in the New Testament Bible. It's nothing to do with pagan marriages.

      July 21, 2011 at 3:07 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.