Chief Security Minister Wiranto. (Antara Photo/Suwandy)

Minister Says Mass Organizations May Not Disrupt Religious Activities

BY :EKO PRASETYO

DECEMBER 09, 2016

Jakarta. Chief Security Minister Wiranto has called on Indonesians to respect the right of all religious communities to practice their faith, while stating that no organization may disrupt such activities.

"No action that violates the law on intolerance is justified. Our nation is [based on the state ideology of] Pancasila. Respect every religion, give opportunities for congregations to practice their faith safely and peacefully," Wiranto said in Jakarta on Thursday (08/12).

The former general said one-sided actions by groups to disrupt religious activities is not appropriate.

"As long as the service takes place in an orderly way at the location, there should be no problem," he said.

Wiranto said any actions aimed at preventing people from participating in religious activities should be reported to the authorities.

'Unfortunate'

Religious Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin earlier deplored the action by a group calling itself the Defenders of Ahlus Sunnah (PAS) to disrupt a Christmas celebration at the Sabuga Convention Center in Bandung, West Java, on Tuesday evening. The incident triggered widespread condemnation.

"It is very unfortunate that it happened. Members of the congregation, who were conducting their practice, should be respected and protected," Lukman said in a written statement on Wednesday.

PAS justified the action by claiming that the organizers of the event had not secured the required permits, but this has been rejected by a member of the church committee, who asked not to be identified. The person said all the requirements to hold a church service in a public space had been met, including submitting notification letters to the local administration and the police.

According to Indonesian law, public facilities can be used for religious events as long as organizers acquire permits from the authorities, such as the Dec. 2 mass rally in Central Jakarta, which saw hundreds of thousands of Muslims take part in a Friday prayer at the National Monument (Monas) complex and surrounding streets.

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