Indonesian Religion – Local Beliefs Need Protection

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This is irony. The county, which should take part in protecting the rights of indigenous religions and local beliefs citizens, is actually involved in the discrimination and marginalization against them. This needs to be taken seriously.

Baca juga: A Never-Ending Talk about Religion.

Discrimination Against Local Beliefs

The indigenous religions and local beliefs existence are quite alarming with the process of the marginalization and discrimination by the community (read: government). Indeed, apart from the government, particularly major religion groups have also contributed to the decline in the existence of the local beliefs’ believers.

This is related to the fact that Indonesia has many local beliefs in almost every tribe, adding to the panorama of the plurality and diversity of the country. On the one hand, the reality of this pluralist country is very open to the possibility of conflicts, tensions, and social upheavals, as happened in history.

Not a few issues happened back then in history, even after now – either it is related to the government, the major religion groups, or even both parties. The fights. The manipulations. The judgments. Not a few as well the discriminations that have been felt by the believer of the indigenous religions and local beliefs. Politically. Economically. Socially. Ect.

It is just frustrating knowing how they need to survive in this typical country that its citizens are easily brainwashed to any stereotype. How they need to be stay closeted to put themselves and their community safe. How they have to lose their identity to keep living in this country.

One of the discriminations that is felt the most by the believer of the indigenous and local beliefs is that they are forced to put legally recognized religions only in their Identification Card or refers as Kartu Tanda Penduduk (KTP).

Local Beliefs is Getting Eroded

This is why most of the religious information in their Identification Card (KTP) now is just a formality. A formality to do in order to get their business related to any legal process runs easier since everybody knows that religion information in the Identification Card (KTP) plays quite a big role in this country.

Moreover, they also fear to not put any religious information in their Identification Card (KTP) because they will be judged as atheists by society. This has something to do with the ‘rezim Orde Baru’ back then. Everyone who was identified besides the legally recognized religions would be labeled as a communist which was also referred to atheism.

What a fool stereotype. Well, nobody actually wanted to do that either. All of those are done just to keep themselves and their community safe and alive in this country after all. Even though they have to sacrifice their own identities.

Yet, still. This stereotype was totally affecting the society now, including the existence of the indigenous religions and local beliefs’ believer that are decreasing.

Everybody Wants Peace, Everybody Deserves Freedom.

The next step we need to take is that we do have to cut off the political-structural process that was done in the past and maybe until now. This is clearly threatening the indigenous religions and local beliefs in Indonesia to be increasingly marginalized and isolated in their own country.

How sad it is. Indigenous religions and local beliefs should be treated as cultural elements not only as religions. Thus, they should not be fought and suspected against historical experience as well.

Government and society really should see this diversity positively. If they could treat this diversity well, this would be grown as a strength that might lead this country better in the future. Apart, this is the responsibility of everyone to keep or protect the cultures that are owned by every one of tribes in Indonesia.

One last, the principle of ‘Bhineka Tunggal Ika’ should also make us have respect and tolerance toward diversities. Even though this country has so many differences in many aspects, the citizens should remain united in maintaining independence of the country.

Nobody wants to repeat history. Everybody wants peace. Everybody deserves freedom. With tolerance, understanding, and respect, we shall find a way to overcome this issue.

Writer: Bilqist Imeilia Az Zahra
Student Of Sampoerna University