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1/20/2023 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently reminded regional leaders to guarantee freedom of religion and worship for all people. In an address during the National Coordination Meeting of Regional Heads Throughout Indonesia, the president affirmed that every religion has the same right to worship as Muslims in Indonesia, where most citizens practice Islam. 

He stated, “Those who are Christians, Catholics, Hindus, and Confucians have the same rights in worship, freedom of religion and worship.”   

President Widodo reminded leaders that the constitution guarantees the right to freely practice religion and worship in Indonesia. He asked all law enforcement officials to understand freedom of religion and worship. “Religion and practicing it are guaranteed by our constitution, guaranteed by Article 29 paragraph 2 of the 1945 Constitution. Don’t let the constitution lose because of an agreement. The constitution must not be inferior to an agreement,” said the President.  

While the Indonesian constitution technically guarantees freedom of religion for all, the reality that religious minorities experience is often quite different. President Widodo’s speech comes on the heels of an incident that took place just before Christmas, when a regent barred Christians from holding a worship service in a local shop. Historically, Christians attempting to build churches in Indonesia have face significant pushback from their majority-Muslim communities and from their local leaders.  

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