In fact, the legal obligation to state one’s religion in the KTP had irritated Indonesians who are not followers of the six religions that are officially recognized by the state: Islam, Hindu, Protestant, Catholic, Buddhist, and Confucian. And, those against the ID card policy included followers of indigenous faiths and others like the Ahmaddiyyah. As such, they have no choice other than accepting their KTP mentioning them as followers of one of the six official religions.
Meanwhile, it is already public knowledge that the majority would oppose any decision to scrap religion from the KTP. Nasaruddin Umar, Jakarta’s Istiqlal Mosque grand imam, said certain groups of ‘Muslim activists’ would surely oppose the scrapping of religion from KTP on grounds that such a policy contradicts the state ideology Pancasila (Five Principles). The ideology’s first belief is ‘Faith in One Almighty God.’ Nasaruddin’s warning is in fact nothing new. It had been widely held that, along with the four other principles namely Humanity, Nationalism, Democracy and Social Justice, Pancasila serves as the most fundamental basis for ‘molding’ Indonesians as genuine citizens.
In his opinion article published by Mediaindonesia.com last Friday (6/4), Nasaruddin described the reason why scrapping religion from KTP could cause a chaotic situation especially within the Muslim community.
For Muslims, he said, KTP that mentions its holder’s religion helps ensure that Muslims get married only with fellow Muslims as prescribed by Islam. Similarly, the ID card guarantees that a Muslim heir bequeath his or her heritage to a Muslim only. And then, when one dies, his or her KTP helps make sure that he or she will be buried in a graveyard for the respective religion.
Meanwhile, the government has decided to provide indigenous faith adherents with specially designed KTP. But, it is still unclear whether their faith will be clearly printed in the ID card.
Leo Jegho, a Jakarta-based journalist and GIV Senior Correspondent.