The Jakarta Post
Despite the rise of sectarian sentiments simmering across the country, the Religious Affairs Ministry’s nationwide survey report arrived at a conclusion: Indonesia is still a harmonious country.
The survey, done from November to December 2017, asked 7,140 respondents from 34 provinces across Indonesia about their view on living in a diverse community.
Banten and Aceh have the lowest score, with 60.7 and 60 respectively. The ministry put them in the category of “medium-level harmony”, while most other provinces have high scores, with labels “harmonious” and “very harmonious”.
The three provinces with the highest scores are East Nusa Tenggara (83.4), Papua (82) and North Sulawesi (81).
Despite rising sectarianism after its 2017 gubernatorial election, Jakarta achieved 12th place with 78.9, higher than Central Java with 78.7 and Yogyakarta with 72.9.
The national average stands at 72.7 in 2017, lower than 75.4 in 2016 and 75.3 in 2015.
“Jakarta has learned from the incident and they tried to be better,” said Farhan Muntafa, a consultant with the ministry’s Research and Development Department.
Department head for religious life Muharram Marzuki said although most provinces had high scores in tolerance and harmony, the community must be more alert in the upcoming regional elections. He also recommended more taking more care in using social media.
Islamic scholar Azyumardi Azra said the survey was good news that must be spread to the community. Some violations that happened are incidental and only happen in several places and could not be generalized, he said.
“It proves that there is no big impact of the hoaxes spread and the Jakarta gubernatorial election. We have always been a harmonious country," he said.
The ministry’s survey is contradictory to other surveys done by several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), such as human rights group Setara Institute.
In 2017, Setara saw the divisive 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, which was plagued with the politicization of religious identities and intolerance, had resulted in increasing number of violations and religious persecutions in Jakarta, Depok and Bogor in West Java and Yogyakarta. (evi)