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From the island of Madura in Indonesia. They are victims of ethnic hatred on many islands and have been murdered in countless raids on their communities, especially around 1998-1999.
Early in the history of Indonesia, the government had a plan to desegregate the island nation. They did this by moving people from their native islands to other islands in the country through a "transmigration program". While most other ethnic groups have assimilated into Indonesian society, the Madurese remain culturally distinct. They are the third largest ethnic group in Indonesia, the Madurese are staunchly resistant to change and outside influence. Over the centuries, they have shown their inability to adjust to any outside influence and maintain their specific identity.
The majority of the Madurese (nine million) live on Java near the island of Madura, with four million still inhabiting Madura.
Madurese tend to be short, have dark-brown skin, curly hair and are rough in appearance.
Family is important to the Madurese and they live in villages that function around an Islamic religious center. According to Islamic law, a man may have more than one wife. Marriage proposals are usually made by the groom's parents, preferably to a first or second cousin. If the proposal is accepted, the bride's parents are then presented with the "bride price," which is usually cattle. The groom's parents then set the date for the upcoming wedding. Most newlywed couples live with the bride's family.
Because the island of Madura has very poor soil, farming is not important in their culture. As a result, the Madurese tend not to farm on other islands with very good soil, such as Java, and opt to heard cattle, fish, or sail instead. A common nickname for the Madurese is "cowboys" of Indonesia. Cattle are an important part of the culture, and bull-racing is one of their favorite sports.
The Madurese also have a reputation for being rough, hot-headed and easily offended. Other Indonesians view the Madurese as being ruthless and violent. They are feared and disliked because of their tough character and use of black magic. Some Madurese still practice the custom of "carok," which involves grabbing an enemy from behind with a knife and cutting his carotid arteries or his stomach. Reasons for committing carok include adultery, disputes about goods or cattle, and loss of dignity. A successful, fatal carok often results in a blood feud between families of the victim and the victor. To avoid a carok, one would consult an Islamic clergyman. These clergymen are among the most influential people in Madurese society, and are said to have even more power than the village council.
Islam is an integral part of the social, political and economic life of these people. Although the Madurese people are orthodox Sunni Muslims in many ways, there is much folk Islam which focuses on seeking protection in life through the magic of either appeasing or controlling good and bad spirits. They have a strong belief in spirits, the use of amulets, black and white magic and the worship of ancestors.
- redirectMadurese language
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