The recent Constitutional Court ruling that allows millions of adherents of indigenous faiths to state their beliefs on their ID card has raised expectations of an end to state-sponsored discrimination. The Jakarta Post writers Margareth S. Aritonang and Corry Elyda review the landmark ruling and its pitfalls. Our correspondents Bambang Muryanto in Yogyakarta and Apriadi Gunawan in Medan take a closer look at local native faiths.

by Margareth S. Aritonang, Corry Elyda, Bambang Muryanto & Apriadi Gunawan

A ritual conducted by a community of Sunda Wiwitan, a West Java indigenous faith that existed long before mainstream religions arrived, in the temperate town of Kuningan confounded a local civil registry official who acknowledged he had never heard of the faith before. “What is it? Is it Hinduism or Buddhism?” Opit murmured as he turned to a woman wearing a hijab sitting next to him. “This is definitely not Islam… those people don’t look like Muslims either,” he added as he observed the men in black and women in white kebaya. His eyes lingered on the conspicuous portrait of prince Madrais Sadewa Alibassa Kusumah Wijaya Ningrat, better known as Kyai Madrais, the priest and founder of the Akur Sunda Wiwitan Cigugur Kuningan, the largest community of Sunda Wititan. What began as a cordial conversation between Opit and his Muslim acquaintance escala...