[#6] Debunking SaveMaryam’s Two Million – A Dodgy Projection

Debunking SaveMaryam’s Two Million – A Dodgy Projection
By Maulana M. Syuhada
1 August 2012 / 13 Ramadan 1433 H

After publishing the Note “[#3] Understanding #SaveMaryam’s Press Release – Incompetent or Dishonest? (or both)” [1] and a demand from ICG to SaveMaryam to delete all references to it, I was expecting SaveMaryam to correct the number.

Surpisingly, instead of admitting the mistake and correct it, SaveMaryam published a new video “2 Million Explained” to defend their claim. [2] This is extraordinary! They have been provided with a reliable data (census). The organisation whom they referred to has denied making any projection and branded SaveMaryam as seriously misrepresent its report, but SaveMaryam in no mood to listen and correct their exaggerating figure. How people can be so stubborn?

Two Millions – Where precisely it comes from?

As I explained on note #3 [1], the accurate way to find out the increase in Christian population over a decade, is to find the Christian Population in year 2000 (start point) and year 2010 (end point). You’ll find the increase in Christian population is 5.48 Million over ten years (or 548,000 per year). The data is available from National Census 2000 and 2010.

SaveMaryam used 2000 Census data as start point, but why they didn’t use 2010 Census data as end point (to maintain consistency)? They instead used the projection data for year 2009 as end point.

That’s the big question mark!

If they didn’t know that the Census data is available, then they’re ignorant; it’s competency problem! But if they knew it, but they deliberately didn’t use it, that’s honesty problem!

As far as I know, there’s no method for finding out the total number of population that is better than Census (even though census itself not 100% accurate, but it’s the best available method). That’s why census is super expensive, thus it’s only conducted every ten years. Moreover for Indonesia that has a big diversity from one region to another region; it’s not easy to make a reliable projection. So, why SaveMaryam didn’t want to use census, but insisted on using projection. It’s still a mystery!

Census is the official data from the government. Whichever journal you want to publish your research in, census data will always be considered as reliable data.

So, is there any reason for you now to trust SaveMaryam’s projection (which is very dodgy) over the official data from the Government?

Those who have been falling in love with (and fooled by) SaveMaryam would probably said yes!

Why SaveMaryam’s Projection Is Very dodgy?

Because SaveMaryam’s projection is only based on interviews, taken from a footnote on ICG’s report (Christian and Intolerance, 2004) page 2, footnote no.4 (See [3]):

ICG itself didn’t make any projection at all on that report. It already branded SaveMaryam as seriously misrepresenting ICG’s report, and requested them to remove all references to ICG.

According to their press release, there are four sources of projection:

–          WorldHarvest = 20%

–          Secret Believers = 17%

–          Secret Believers/ICG = 15%

–          Religious Ministry = 12%

However, in the footnote, there are three sources of projection (all interview based):

  1. A source (a person) from the Indonesian office of World Harvest.
  2. A website Secret Believers (unofficial data)
  3. An official (a person) at the Ministry of Religious Affairs

I quote the footnote no.4 from ICG’s report page 2:

“(4) Crisis Group interviews, Jakarta, June 2009. An official at the Ministry of Religious Affairs put the figure at 12 per cent. A source from the Indonesian office of World Harvest, an international organisation based in the U.S., estimated a total of 20 per cent. A website about persecuted Christians gives a figure of 15 to 17 per cent.”

I checked the website Secretbelievers.org, and got:

Unofficially, the percentage is believed to be between 15-17% of 235,000,000 people. The Government’s figure of the 2000 Census put the percentage at around 10-11%.” [4]

Even though ICG has clearly denied that they’re making projection, but SaveMaryam mentioned it as one of the four sources (ie. Secret Believer / ICG = 15%).

Do you know where this 15% comes from?

It comes from a line in page 2 paragraph 4:

Many Protestant evangelicals believe the true percentage of Christians is closer to 12 to 15 per cent, and some put the figure even higher, although this is dismissed as wishful thinking by more objective sources (4).” [3]

Shocking! How could you call that ICG makes a projection of 15%, if what it did is only writing the above sentence on its report. This is madness at its worst! Simply brutal!

With this brutal calculation, it’s no surprise that SaveMaryam come out with 2 Million figure as the number of Muslims converted to Christian per year (even though the census data shows that the annual increase of Christian population is only 548,000 per year).

And of that 548,000, the biggest percentage is certainly due to natural growth (birthrate). So, the annual increase due to conversion from other religion is even smaller.

Your judgement

So now it’s all down to you. Which one you want to believe?

You want to believe official data from the government?

(comes from Census that is super expensive)


SaveMaryam’s projection?

(which is actually just an average from three projections, merely only rough estimate gathered from some interviews (ie. from someone in the religious minister, someone from the Indonesian office of World Harvest, and the website of Secret Believers, which they clearly said it’s unofficial)

ICG whom SaveMaryam’s projection heavily rely on has clearly denied making any projection and said that SaveMaryam seriously misrepresents an International Crisis Group report, and requested them to remove all references to ICG immediately.

You make a choice!


[1] http://www.facebook.com/notes/maulana-m-syuhada/4-icg-demanded-savemaryam-to-remove-all-references-to-icg/10151137849167238

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoG9RLfAJEw

[3] http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/asia/south-east-asia/indonesia/B114%20Indonesia%20-%20Christianisation%20and%20Intolerance.pdf

[4] http://www.secretbelievers.org/sb_watchlist_indonesia.aspx

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