Understanding #SaveMaryam’s Press Release – Incompetent or Dishonest? (or both)
By Maulana M. Syuhada
28 July 2012 / 9 Ramadan 2012
Alhamdulillah, finally SaveMaryam (SM) launched a press release on 25 July 2012. This press release shows us even much clearer what kind of organisation it is.
Their press release can be read here:
There are many points that I want to comment on, however I will only focus on two major points:
1. The 2 Millions Calculation Method
Once I read the press release and then looked at the excel table on how they get 2 Millions figure, I was in big shock. I couldn’t believe what I saw. How could someone use this kind of calculation to find out the number of Muslims converted to Christianity, and claimed it as a research on true number of Conversion to Christianity in Indonesia? And even further broadcasted all over the world! What a big shock!
Some fundamental flaws:
(a) False Data – Deliberate or Ignorant?
First step is to find out the increase in Christian population over a decade. The accurate way to do this is to find the Christian Population in year 2000 and year 2010, divided by 10 years, then we get the average annual increase. The data is available from National Census 2000 and 2010.
However, strangely, instead of using 2010 National Census data, SM use the projection data for year 2009 from unreliable source.
There is a big question mark here. Why they didn’t want to use the fact (2010 Census data), but instead using projection data for year 2009? If they did the study before 2010, and the official data (census) was not available, then they could use estimation (though must be from credible source), but we are now in 2012 and the census data for year 2010 is available.
The question is: Whether they didn’t know there is a census data or they knew it but they didn’t want to use it. The projection data from unreliable source can give you any number you want.
For a research to be credible you have to use facts (credible data). It’s very hard to believe for an organisation – that claims conducting a research on the true number of conversion to Christianity in Indonesia – doesn’t know that the 2010 census data is available. The Census data is the very first data that you have to get to start the research.
(b) The projection – How Wrong is it?
So, from point (a), they already use a false data. Now, how wrong is this projection?
They make a projection on the number of Christian population in 2009. They claim they use the data from four different sources. Below the estimated proportion of Christian population in 2009 according to four sources:
– WorldHarvest = 20%
– Secret Believers = 17%
– Secret Believers/ICG = 15%
– Religious Ministry = 12%
They average all four sources, and get 16%. So they claim that in 2009, the proportion of Christian population is 16% of the total Indonesia population.
Let’s check the fact. From 2010 National Census, we get this official figure:
Total population = 237,641,326 (100%)
Protestant = 16,528,513 (6.96%)
Catholic = 6,907,873 (2.91%)
Christian (Protestant and Catholic) = 23,436,386 = 9.86%
So, their projection 16% (2009) is far away from the true figure 9.86% (2010).
To make it even worse they use World Bank’s growth rate (another data) to estimate the total number of Christian population. The gap between their projection and the estimated population using World Bank’s growth is the number of Muslims converted to Christianity. That’s where the two Millions per year figure come from. This is simply shocking!
The data is false (point a), the projection is wrong (16%), the calculation methodology is wrong. How could you call this a research?
(c) It’s Not A Research
This is not a research! Far far away from it, let alone a credible research. When I read this report, it reminded to the time when I used to mark a business statistics coursework of undergraduate student. Very messy! Lack of references and reliable sources. You grabbed whatever you could find on the internet on put them together on excel table, then write some bla bla bla to explain how this answer the question on the coursework. Shocking! To make it even worse, SM got the answer wrong. If SM were students in my statistics class, they will be guaranteed “failed”!
Well if a student answers the coursework wrong, the worst thing that can happen is he failed, and won’t harm the society. But if a registered organisation got it wrong, and broadcasted all over the world, what would happen is a disaster! It will only bring harm to the society.
Shockingly they proudly said this is the decent estimate number (where all credible authorities – both the most credible left and most credible right are taken into account) and the real figure is even 10-15% bigger (but they revert back to Islam after a year). They claimed further that according to a number of Muslim Professors that they came across, the actual number may be worse than 2 millions.
What a complete nonsense! Everyone could claim this is from Professors. But how people could believe if you didn’t even mention the name of the professors.
(d) What Is The True Number?
Let’s talk facts. According to 2000 and 2010 National Census:
The number of Christian population in 2000 = 17,954,977
The number of Christian population in 2010 = 23,436,386
The average annual increase of Christian population = (23,436,386 – 17,954,977) / 10 = 548,141 per year.
So, 548,141 is the upper limit. Any conversion figure above this number contradicts the fact (Census data). Bear in mind this 548,141 is the annual increase of Christian population, the biggest proportion of that 548,141 is certainly due to population growth (birth-rate). So, the proportion due to conversion from other religion is even smaller.
To check all the figures above see the references on my note “How to prove that #SaveMaryam’s 2 Millions conversion rate is FAKE!” 
2. Partnered with Muhammadiyah?
Mercy Mission claim that they are working with Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia with more than 30 Million members. This is a huge statement!
I was educated in Muhammadiyah Boarding School (pesantren) during my secondary school for three years. As a Muhammdiyah educated I know exactly their values and spirit as I lived there 24 hours/day 7 days/week. Muhammadiyah is well-known for its “Ahsan” da’wah approach (good and wise). That’s why it is so popular all over Indonesia both in urban and rural areas, and has a strong network and root in the community. Also Muhammadiyah has zero tolerance to lies! So, I have a very big doubt that Muhammadiyah is involved in this dubious and careless campaign. It’s far from Muhammadiyah values and spirit, it’s far from Muhammadiyah’s way of doing da’wah.
I have asked few friends who are active in Muhammadiyah, and they don’t know about SaveMaryam. However, they will get in touch with Muhammadiyah headquarter to verify this. Hopefully if Muhammadiyah can clarify this, it will bring comfort to everyone. So, let’s wait and see.
If you are a genuine Muslim, then you have to admit that the 2 Million figure you broadcasted around the world is false, and you MUST:
– Apologise to all Indonesian people for portraying them in a wrong way
– Apologise to all Muslim around the world for giving a false figure
– Apologise to all the donors who already spent their money because they thought the figure was genuine.
– Remove the video from Youtube, and suspend the campaign.
For whatever reasons (or intentions or goals), if you incorporate lies to your project, it won’t bring you any “Barakah” (Blessing from Allah SWT). Every dollar you get won’t bring you any “Barakah”. It will only lead you to a disaster. Naudzu billahi min dzalik!
Since I published my first note “#SaveMaryam – A KONY 2012 type campaign, misleading and very insulting to Indonesian Muslims” , I’ve been receiving load of messages on my facebook inbox (as well as friend requests). Whilst I’m trying my best to read all the messages, I can’t reply them individually. So, I will try to accommodate your questions and concerns on every note I publish.