Embrace Foundation

Embrace Foundation Retreat Center
.Foundation (skype messaging)    -    011+1+212.675.4500 (New York)

Click to Email Us
Traveling in Java - 2017

Embrace Foundation is a non-profit,  
educational foundation set up to  
create better understanding  
between people of different  
religions, cultures, traditions and  
world philosophies.

Embrace Foundation works to bring  
leaders and scholars of world-wide  
religions, cultures and philosophies  
together by sponsoring forums,  
seminars, lectures and developing  
an international exchange program.  
Embrace Foundation is particularly  
concerned with reaching the world  
public through the media.
Embrace Foundation is an all  
volunteer organization. All  
donations go directly to programs.

Embrace Foundation does not and  
has never given permission to any  
outside organization to solicit or  
receive contributions on our behalf.

All donations should be made to  
Embrace Foundation only via  
Paypal or by mail. All donations are  
tax deductible. A receipt will be  
emailed to you. Please click on the  
Pay Pal link below to Donate.
Travel As An Interfaith Act
Embrace encourages all who can  
do so, to learn about other  
traditions and cultures by traveling  
as “Grassroots Diplomats.” We  
hope that people every where  
become life long students of our  
world-wide humanity.

“ In every man there is something  
wherein I may learn of him, and in  
that I am his pupil.”
Embrace Humanity

Great Visions - TV
Guests are: Swami Satchidananda &
the Rt. Reverend Dean Parks Morton
Embrace Archives
Limited Editions Gallery
Umrah - Jordan
Embrace Sacred Places
Monastery of Bahira - Syria
Embrace Foundation Universal
Monk Reading - Ethiopia
Thank you for making a donation.
Embrace Foundation Archives.Org
Virginia (Embrace), Dr.Anwar Barkat (World Council of Churches, UN) & Imam I.H. Kauser
Embrace Foundation Archives. Org
Embrace Archives
NEW !!!! FINALLY ! - See: CURRENT The Embrace Founders Travels in Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Lebanon & Cyprus  IMPORTANT ! See article of TRAVELING IN TURKEY in CELEBRATE HUMANITY - The Embrace Founders have returned from Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Lebanon & Cyprus: -  See: BULLETIN  - TRAVELING IN LADAKH  + TRAVELING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE DRAVIDIAN SIDDHAS  in CELEBRATE HUMANITY    -   See: Traveling in Kashmir - July, August 2017 under CELEBRATE HUMANITY    -  See CURRENT for Founders trip to Kashmir, Ladakh & Siddha Tamil Nadu July & August 2017 - FINALLY!!!  New photos of Viet Nam in www.EmbraceSacredplaces.org  under 6 categories - Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Taoism & Traditional religions.
The Javanese grassroots people are outgoing and very friendly. Groups of laughing teenage girls  
with their selfies at historical sites are quite rambunctious.  Both Ajata and Virginia found the  
Javanese easy to speak with, without any reserve. They are forthright, honest, polite, kind and the  
teenagers can keep you entertained for a long time.  The young people adore meeting foreigners  
and will ask you lots of questions. The Founders enjoyed experiencing the curiosity of Java’s  
younger generations immensely.

Why Go to Java?

First of all, Java has some of the most warm-hearted people on the planet.  It has remarkable  
UNESCO heritage sites (Buddhist and Hindu), excellent, well organized trains, as well as, beautiful  
scenery and nature in the East and Central areas. It has some architecturally unique old mosques in  
quaint villages. We were particularly fond of the Saka Tunggal Mosque and its’ village. We found  
that people working at the train stations would go out of their way to help us in all possible ways  
including getting us good seats. The trains are clean, fast, comfortable and almost always on time.   

Javanese are very accommodating and understand quickly what foreigners need. They enjoy  
socializing with visitors and those who speak English or who have traveled to Western nations will  
intercede to help tourists whenever they can. In short, the Javanese grassroots people are a  
good reason to go to Java.

There are however, problems with the governments’ stand on religious human rights.

Constitutional Religious Freedom

Indonesia has a constitution that guarantees religious freedom but defines accepted religions only  
as: Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism (Confucianism, however, is a philosophy not a  
religion),  Catholics and Protestants (as if Catholics & Protestants were not both Christians - an  
easy mistake to make for anyone who has read the history of Europe, Britain and Ireland).

Identity Cards

The government requires that people put their religion on an identity card. This is not only an  
invasion of privacy and basic human rights but allows the government to discriminate quite easily  
against people of various religions if it so chooses.

Who the Javanese Actually Are

Identity cards are not an accurate indicator of the populations true beliefs, because the  
traditional beliefs known in Java as Kejawen or Agama Jawa that underpin almost everything in  
Java are not represented.  Kejawen is the underlying factor that unites just about all Javanese  
regardless of religious affiliation. There are sacred places in nature determined by Kejawen where  
people of all religions go to pray, often together.

An individual seeking a job in some government agency might find it more favorable to put  
themselves down as a Muslim rather than something else, so that they will be considered for a job.  

Because there is no category for what many people do believe, we would guess that registering  
oneself with the government as something other than what they are, occurs in quite large numbers.  

As the Founders have spent many years in every kind of Mosque and Masjid around the world, we  
can say that quite a number of people in Java will say that they are Muslim, but they are not and  
have no intention, (except occasionally for political expediency) to practice Islam. That is not to  
say that there are not millions and millions of devoted Muslims, there are, but the situation is  
not quite as simple as one reading statistics might think.

Human Rights

At present, Java has a serious human rights, religious freedom issue to deal with concerning a  
Chinese Christian who has been elected to the office of Governor and did so by gaining the votes of  
the majority of Muslims. He was jailed on trumped-up charges of blasphemy against the Qu’ran.  
The people making the claim predictably were the ones voted out of office. The situation is a severe  
violation of human rights and can only be condemned by all fair minded people and especially those  
Muslims who actually practice what the Holy Prophet taught. There is now to be a run-off election  
with high security due to the threat of Muslim extremists trying to intimidate voters. However,  
interfaith leaders, including the leaders of the largest Islamic organization have called for a  
peaceful election

“Separately, leaders from interfaith groups also called for a peaceful election. Joining the call were  
leaders from the country’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the Indonesia  
Bishops Conference (KWI), the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), the Nichiren Shoshu  
Indonesia (NSI), the Indonesian Parisada Hindu Council (PHDI) and the Confucian Supreme  
Council of Indonesia (Matakin).  During the interfaith meeting, leaders from the organizations called  
for calm and urged candidates and their supporters to accept the outcome of the election.” the  
Jakarta Post - Haeril Halim & Fachrul Sidiq   18th April 2017

In the course of many conversations we also heard about young men on motorcycles revving up  
their cycles in front of a church trying to intimidate parishioners from attending.  The people  
mentioning this believed that “outside foreign influences” were to blame.

Noise Pollution

The call to prayer is beautiful when it is done with a full heart, is clear and is done with the correct  
intonation. However, mosque loudspeakers can be a nightmare when they are misused or there are  
too many mosques sending out a call at the same time. Noise pollution coming from ego driven  
imams make life a misery for everyone, including devout Muslims living in the areas of Borobudur,  
Wonosobo and some parts of Jogyakarta.


(Keep in mind, that the Founders have complained about Hindu Temples in India during  
festivals and weddings and have suggested that Indians not have legal access to  
loudspeakers bigger than the size of a fist.  In addition, we have complained about the  
Christian “Testifiers” in Ghana, Africa who due of their screaming, were literally mistaken  
for the mentally ill by friends traveling from Switzerland. 

The Imams who are Culprits of Noise Atrocities:

1.) Have terrible speakers with static
2.) Intone the Call harshly, without heart and incorrectly
3.) Are too loud and often seem to have a competition between neighboring mosques very close to  
one another
4.) Once these men get on the speakers, they stay on forever on any pretext, to shout into the  
environment, making it impossible to have a conversation in your hotel room, hotel lobby, at a  
restaurant or even to read or think -sometimes for hours.

Please, wake up Java, even Cairo limited the number of mosques that can do the call to prayer at  
one time, and the Egyptions are blessed with the authority of  Al Azar, which you are not.  

By this time with apps for everything else, there most certainly is a mobile phone app for the times  
of salat that can be adapted to the Java time zone.

Hungry Islamic Demonstrators

. . . About the Islamic demonstrators - black flags, white Arabic calligraphy on Malioboro Street. . .
There is little doubt that those carrying the flags could not read the Arabic flags they were carrying.  
The young men were the thinnest, most hungry looking people that we had seen anywhere in Java.   
It is not surprising that both Australians married to Javanese and Javanese Muslims themselves  
agreed that the demonstrators were “paid” to demonstrate by “outsiders”.  

Javanese Protecting Animals

We met a lovely Australian (part Javanese) woman, who was raised in the Assembly of God  
(Christian) tradition. Her husband is a Javanese Muslim. This is a woman who respects her  
husbands tradition, (and he hers) yet devotedly reads verses from the old and new testament every  

She, her husband and their friends have started AFJ (Animal Friends Jogya.) They take in many  
stray, sick and wounded animals. If the animals are not dogs or cats they get them located at  
specialist rehabilitation centers. AFJ strongly advocates and helps with spay, neuter programs and  
educates against cruelty to animals. They do this work as volunteers, at a big expense to  
themselves. If you’d like to help them, go to:  
animalfriendsjogja.org/page/donation.php or email: animalfriendsjogja@gmail.com

Where Is Java Going?

The Founders spoke with numerous people from different perspectives as to what they felt was in  
store for Java. Most people felt the situation is a tossup not because the vast majority of Javanese  
have any interest in salafi Islam and certainly no sympathy for the ISIL but because the government  
wavers from all sense of ethics when they are challenged on the slightest issue by extremists and  
does not represent the grassroots people or their concerns. Also, there are people whose severe  
poverty must immediately be addressed, (including homes whose floors are totally flooded  
during the monsoon.) If poverty is not addressed, many may soon be joining any group who pays  
them. Arresting the newly elected governor on false charges is a perfect example of the corruption  
of the government and the Java justice system.

Some long time expats from the West with specialized expertise have left Java because of the  
direction that the government has taken.  On the other hand there are at least two middle aged  
Australian men married to Javanese women (Catholic and Protestant) that are looking forward to  
enjoying new homes that they and their wives are building in Java.

So, we would say that the grassroots Javanese people left alone will continue to rely on their  
common sense which has generally served them well. But the Javanese government and the  
extremely poor are another matter.


Java is the capital of all of Indonesia which amounts to 17,508 islands.  Some islands are  
predominately Christian, some are predominately traditional, Bali is predominately Hindu. As can be  
imagined the central governments influence on religious matters outside of Java and possibly  
Sumatra are greatly weakened by the distances from Java.
Borobudor (9th ce) Buddhist Shrine UNESCO World Heritage Site - Magelang, Java
Prambanan - Hindu World Heritage Site (9th c.e.) South-Central Java
Prambanan - Hindu World Heritage Site (9th c.e.) South-Central Java
Entrance to the Masjid Agung Demak & Museum - Demak, Java
Tradition has this Mosque built by the Nine Muslim Saints (Wali Songo) especially Sunan Kalijaga in the 15th Cen.
Sacred Masjid Agung Demak associated with the 9  ( Wali Songo) especially Sunan Kalijanga (15th c.)

 ( Wali Songo).
Masjid Agung Demak Associated with the 9 Wali Songo  and especially  - Demak, Java especially
The 99 Beautiful Names of Allah - Strung in a Portico at the Agung Demak Masjid
Masjid Menara Kudus (1549 ce) has Tomb of Sunnan Kudus (A Wali Sanga)
One of the Chinese Temples at the Sam Po Complex in Semarang, Java
Masjid Saka Tuggal Cikakak, Banyumas, Central Java (1871)
Masjid Saka Tuggal - A Magical Place in a Magical Setting  Cikakak, Banyumas, Central Java (1871)
Prambanan - Hindu World Heritage Site (9th c.e.) South-Central Java
View from Candi  Ijo - HIndu (10-11th CE) Central South Java
Masjid Sunan Ampal - Surabaya, Java
Puppet Show at the Kong Co Kong Tik Cun Ong Temple - Surabaya, Java
At the Tomb of Sunnan Kudus at Masjib Menara Kudus
The Sacred Tomb (Dargah) of Sunan Kudus at the Masjid Menara Kudus
Sam Po Chinese Temple Complex - Semarang, Java
Approch to Borobodur Buddhist Shrine (9th ce) UNESCO World Heritage Site - Magelang, Java
View from Borobudur  Buddhist Shrine - It has Nine Levels - World Heritage Site - Central Java
Masjid Saka Tuggal - A Magical Place in a Magical Setting  Cikakak, Banyumas, Central Java (1871)
Masjid Saka Tuggal - A Magical Place in a Magical Setting  Cikakak, Banyumas, Central Java (1871)
Prambanan - Hindu World Heritage Site (9th c.e.) South-Central Java
Prambanan - Hindu World Heritage Site (9th c.e.) South-Central Java
Prambanan - Hindu World Heritage Site (9th c.e.) South-Central Java