NU, Muhammadiyah welcome wider rights for native-faith followers
Marguerite Afra Sapiie
The Jakarta Post
The two largest Islamic organizations in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and Muhammadiyah, have welcomed a recent Constitutional Court ruling that grants native-faith followers the right to state their beliefs on their ID cards.
Muhammadiyah secretary-general Abdul Mu'ti said the ruling had boosted efforts to provide legal certainty for the country's followers of indigenous faiths, many of whom had their rights denied in the past.
The government should follow up the court ruling by compiling the data of native-faith followers across the country, he said. "There is no need to limit native-faith followers by [deciding] who are recognized or not," Abdul told The Jakarta Post recently.
"Regulations related to public services such as civil administration registry, marriage, religious education and others should also be revised," he added.
The court ruled that articles 61 and 64 of the law that required people adopting indigenous faiths to leave the religion column on their ID cards blank were discriminatory, on the grounds that the articles provided no legal certainty and violated principles of equal justice for all citizens.
Meanwhile, NU secretary-general Helmy Faishal Zaini said the ruling had reaffirmed the country's role to protect the rights of its citizens to freedom of religion and beliefs.
He went on to say that the NU was not worried about the impact of the ruling. "Our nation is mature in terms of its experiences in maintaining interfaith relations," Helmy said. (ahw)
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