UCA News

Indonesia

Papuans build interreligious harmony

Markus Makur, Timika

Markus Makur, Timika

Updated: September 22, 2010 02:43 AM GMT
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Papuan Catholic children at a church festival
Papuan Catholic children at a church festival
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Minority religions in the Mimika district of Indonesian Papua say they have never encountered difficulties in building worship places in the predominantly Protestant province. Muhammad Amin, chairman of the local Indonesian Ulema Council, told ucanews.com that the local government in the district facilitated the building of places of worship including churches, mosques and temples. “We maintain interreligious relations and religious leaders have ensured that their followers have a good understanding of other religions,” the Muslim scholar said. Although Protestants are the largest religious community in Papua, they have never discriminated against Muslim and other religious communities, he continued. “Even if there was a problem, they could resolve it through interreligious dialogue,” he added. According to Amin, interreligious conflicts in other regions of Indonesia are the result of a lack of religious understanding. “Such conflicts only cause losses,” he said, expressing the hope that tensions will not arise among people in the district. Referring to a 2006 joint ministerial decree on the building of worship venues, Amin noted that the decree helps to maintain good interreligious relations. It should not be revised, replaced or revoked, he stated. Piter Rada, who heads the district’s office of religious affairs, agreed. “Thank God that there were no religious conflicts triggered by the building of worship venues,” he said. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart of Jesus Father Bernardus Kedang of St. Peter’s Church in Karang Senang lauded religious leaders who have encouraged their followers to maintain harmony and tolerance. However, he suggested that the joint ministerial decree should be reviewed to ensure that religious conflicts will not recur in other parts of the country. Related reports Priest backs students’ anti-violence protest Indonesians rue surge in religious hate crimes Jakarta protesters demand protection IT11295.1620

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