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Where is Justice for Adherents of Local Beliefs in Indonesia?

Since I was little, I have adopted the understanding that there are only six official religions in Indonesia, these religions are limited to Islam, Catholic Christianity, Protestant Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. This understanding made me grow up without knowing the existence of Local Faith Believers in Indonesia. Even from a young age, I was taught to respect, respect, and develop a spirit of tolerance towards the six official religions in Indonesia, to the point that I did not know how to respond to the ritual practices carried out by local believers. I have been in school from elementary school to high school, for 12 years, and I have never once been given an understanding of Local Beliefs.

This reality feels so terrible, even though many juridical bases would strengthen justice for local believers, its realization is tough to implement in the lives of the nation and state.

One moment in my life that prompted me to question the position of justice for adherents of local beliefs was when I discovered my college friends wrote 'Christian' on their identity cards because they thought that their rights would be difficult to achieve if they remained. Write 'Fellower of Faith' in the religion column on the identity cards. A simple example that they gave me was when they filled out the registration form for campus activities and they never provided a column for 'Beliefs' in the religion section. This, of course, would be confusing for my college friends if they didn't identify with a particular official religion that was recognized by the state.

This moment made me realize that even though the Constitutional Court had decided to recognize the existence of believers in the identity column through Constitutional Court Decision No. 97/PUU-XIV-2006 concerning Judicial Review of the Population Administration Law, this does not really help believers in achieving their citizenship rights. Because in practice, the existence of believers is still marginalized in Indonesian society.

Another moment that made me realize that the existence of believers was still marginalized was when I couldn't find any school subjects, or even college courses, that taught about spirituality teachings for local believers. It is very sad to find that believers have to take part in school subjects or courses that do not follow their beliefs. This is also what has led to the general public's stuttering in understanding believers, because in the world of education itself, the general public is not given an understanding of the existence of Local Faith Believers.

I view the lack of socialization and embrace by the Government of the existence of Local Believers as the main reason behind the inequality of justice experienced by Believers. Therefore, even though many legal products try to fight for justice for Local Faith Believers, this justice will never be truly realized because the Indonesian people themselves are still asking, "What is a Local Believer?" This is truly sad, even though according to data published by the Indonesian Ministry of Home Affairs at the end of 2022, there were 117,412 Indonesians who adhered to religious beliefs. This is not a small number; how long will we ignore justice for them?

Currently, we need real action to achieve justice for all local believers. The smallest thing can start with yourself. When you read this article, you must realize that out there, many believers have lost their human rights because of society's ignorance of their existence, therefore, be an agent of change who can change the perception of the people around you about believers. Start introducing people around you to the fact that religion in Indonesia is not limited to the six official religions, there are still beliefs whose existence must be respected.

I also suggest to the Government, especially to the Ministry of Religion, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, and the Ministry of Home Affairs to work together in creating a world of education that also introduces the existence of believers to society. I believe that the world of education is a learning medium that plays an important role in the formation of individuals. Introducing the existence of Believers through the existence of school and college subjects, it has become a crucial step in building public understanding about Believers.

When society can understand and appreciate the existence of Local Believers, then that is when we can all realize justice that is truly fair for the Believers.


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