The Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali said Monday there will be neither a revision nor a revocation of a joint ministerial decree regulating on houses of worship.
He said the decree was a “suitable instrument” to maintain religious harmony in Indonesia.
“If we do not have the decree, people will do whatever they like. The decree walls off excessive freedom,” Suryadharma said Monday at the State Palace in Jakarta as quoted by kompas.com.
Critics have argued the joint ministerial decree – signed by the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Home Ministry – has made it difficult for minority religious groups to establish houses of worship, thus posing a possible violation of their constitutional rights.
Suryadharma countered the criticism, saying the decree lowered the standard requirements of establishing places of worship.
The decree stipulates that the construction of a house of worship needs consent from a minimum of 60 local residents, which is a smaller figure as compared to a previous regulation, he added.