The tribespeople have observed that the Indonesian Government pays more attention to its Muslim citizens.

A number of Indonesian tribespeople have started to believe conversion to Islam will make matters smoother when it comes to their interactions with the government. The tribespeople have observed that the Indonesian Government pays more attention to its Muslim citizens. Such care is not provided if the person due to receive care is a non-Muslim. The 'Orange Rimba' tribe is to be noted in this context. Many tribe members have abandoned their animistic religion and their wandering ways.

The Orang Rimba lives in Indonesia's Sumatran rainforests. The Indonesian Government does not recognize their animistic faith and their nomadic lifestyle. Their foraging territory is being encroached by palm oil plantation companies. Their only way to obtain justice is to become Muslims. The non-orthodox carrot-and-stick technique is paying dividends in the religious sphere. The Celitai tribe, one of the many tribes of the Orang Rimba, comprising of 58 families. The whole tribe converted. Post conversion, the tribe members were taken by bus to the nearest metropolis. Clothes were given to the members. They also received prayer mats. Their children were put under a formal educational framework with a large slice of Islamism thrown in. The young were taught to shout that they will protect their children until their death. They also shouted the supremacy of Allah.

The conversion of the Celitai tribe was facilitated by the Islamic Defenders Front. The latter is a vigilante group. The leader of the Islamic Defenders Front has been accused of inciting violence on the pretext of religion. Another Islamic missionary group, the Hidayatullah, has posted one of its members Ustad Reyhan, to ensure that the newly converted continues to practice Islam. Like all religious leaders, he and his cohorts are focusing on the children of the tribe. The logic is that their brains are almost a blank page, with none of the saddles which comes with age and experience.

Not all tribespeople have converted. Going deeper into the forest reveals a number of tribes who wear loin clothes. They continue to hunt with crude fire-arms and foraging tools. However, these animism-following tribes are fast depleting as the palm companies are chopping off indigenous trees and planting palm trees instead. Sheer hardship has forced the tribes to run into the embrace of Islam. This is not done for spiritual fulfillment but for more materialist needs like healthcare and food.


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