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Jakarta Post

Bill aims to recognize faiths outside six official religions

  • Haeril Halim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, October 6 2016   /  08:04 am

Despite having the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia, unlike neighboring Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam, has never made Islam its official religion so as to acknowledge the existence of other major faiths in the country.

For decades, Indonesian children have been taught that the country recognizes only six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.

This policy, stipulated in the 1965 Blasphemy Law, was often hailed as a hallmark of Indonesia’s diversity during the Soeharto era.

More than 18 years after the former strongman’s downfall, the government has finally admitted that the policy is in fact a denial of the country’s diversity and may contravene the 1945 Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.

In reality, Indonesia is also home to hundreds of native faiths and other minor religions...