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ICC Note: By having their religion on their ID card, it makes them more suseptible to religious persecution because people can identify which religion they are right away.

Religion to remain on ID cards

11/20/06 Indonesia (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesia’s House of Representatives and government have agreed to continue listing one’s religion on identity cards. Members of different faiths have criticized the agreement as a violation of fundamental human rights and myopic political opportunism.

On 16 November, the House announced the deal in the context of wider parliamentary debate on a civil registry bill. Indicating one’s faith on identity cards has long been a source of discrimination against followers of religions different from the six faiths recognized by Jakarta: Islam, Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.

The Muslim scholar, Buddhy Munawar Rachman of Paramadhina University, said this was a violation “of the freedom of each citizen to embrace or not to embrace religion”.

He continued: “Politicians are well aware that religions constitute the single most important attribute by which the people identify themselves and they play the religion card to garner as much support as possible.” But this encourages division, since people then start thinking of themselves as “part of a larger community built on the foundation of religion rather than citizenship” of a nation.

Catholic priest, Fr Antonius Benny Susetyo, secretary of the Commission for Interfaith Affairs of the Indoensian Bishops’ Council, was also critical. He accused politicians of pursuing immediate self-interest rather than the good of the nation. He said the political use of religion led to exalting its trivial aspects rather than the essential issues, like greater charity and piety.

Asia News