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Home Worldwide Indonesia June, 2009 Religious politicization …
Religious politicization should be rejected

The Archipelago Mon, 06/01/2009 12:58 PM 

Religious politicization should be rejected

A. Junaidi and Slamet Susanto, The Jakarta Post, Bandung

Activists have called upon the nation to reject any politicization of religion aimed at replacing the Pancasila state ideology and threatening the country’s diversity.

While issuing a petition in Bandung on Saturday, activists from various civil society organizations also appealed against all kinds of violence justified in the name of religion, such as church closures and traditional rite banning.

The petition was issued at the end of a three-day meeting organized by the Unity and Diversity National Alliance (ANBTI).

ANBTI coordinator Nia Sjarifuddin said the West Java capital had been chosen as the location for the gathering because of the recent incidents of religious intolerance that took place in the province.

“We have an obligation to remind people to defend our united Indonesia based on diversity in terms of religions and cultures,” Nia said.

Several Christian houses of worships have been forcibly closed in Bekasi while in Depok, Mayor Nurmahmudi Ismail, who was nominated by the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), annulled a building permit for a place of worship in the city.

Last year, several mosques across the country belonging to the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect - including in Kuningan, Parung and Bogor in the province - were sealed off and destroyed by Muslim militants. Several regencies in the province have issued bylaws requiring students and civil servants to wear Muslim attires on certain days.

West Java Goverrnor Ahmad Heryawan, who is also a PKS politician, recently asked Jaipong traditional dancers to be more “polite” when wearing their costumes and performing moves.

Nia said the activists also deplored the governor’s banning of cultural expression in the name of morality and religion.

“We also urge the state to ratify the convention on indigenous people and reject discrimination based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation,” she said.

After the meeting, the activists, along with about a thousand of people, held parade to celebrate cultural diversity. Performing a variety of dances, they marched from the municipality building to the Bandung Lautan Api monument.

Constitutional Court Chief Mahfud MD admitted several bylaws had violated the Pancasila state ideology and the state Constitution.

“Many bylaws have deviated from the values of Pancasila and the Constitution, but so far, nobody has filed a judicial review on the bylaws,” Mahfud said in his opening speech at the three-day Pancasila Congress held at Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, on Saturday.

Based on the Constitution, he said, the Supreme Court could conduct the bylaw review.

“But so far, the Supreme Court has not responded yet and people are not asking for a review either.”

Mahfud said many state officials, including local officials, did not abide by the Pancasila values when managing their administrations.

The Congress was held to commemorate the Pancasila’s anniversary, observed on June 1.

In Jakarta, activists commemorated the Pancasila anniversary at Ismail Marzuki Cultural Park on Monday. They earlier planned to meet at Monas Park, but cancelled their gathering to avoid clashes with certain radical groups, like the ones that occurred last year.

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