The Jakarta Post
Indonesia's religious harmony index declined following a rise in negative religious sentiments ahead of the 2019 elections, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said on Thursday.
Wiranto, along with several other ministers, gave a press conference to evaluate President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla after four years of leadership.
At the event, he referred to data that shows the country's religious harmony index slid to 72.2 points in 2017 from 75.4 in 2016 and 75.3 in 2015.
"This [the decline] is because of the simultaneous elections. Previously, there was [...] no friction [between religious followers]," he said.
He said there was a tendency for religion to be a "symbol of contention" during regional elections.
"It [the decline] was also caused by hoaxes, which are new to us," he said. "Nonetheless, such hoaxes cannot be avoided. What we can do is suppress them."
The index decline, he added, had yet to significantly affect "Indonesia's harmony as a nation".
According to data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), despite the decline, it was good that the index had stayed above 70 points throughout the years.