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6/6/2024 Indonesia  (International Christian Concern) — A new report shows Indonesia has experienced increased religious tolerance in the last year. According to the Religious Harmony Index (KUB), 76% of Indonesians considered themselves tolerant of other people’s religions in 2023. 

That’s a 3% increase over data from 2022. Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Indonesia’s minister of religion, shared this year’s report on May 16 at the Office of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI), Menteng, Central Jakarta. The trend is encouraging to Christians, who make up about 13% of the population, which is about 82% Muslim. 

Yaqut acknowledged the progress but said he remains committed to his role. He added that he understands there is still much work to be done to ensure religious harmony in the country. 

One challenge Christians face on this journey toward religious tolerance is the issue of church permits. Often, residents resist churches obtaining these. In such cases, the Ministry of Religion plays a crucial role in fostering understanding within the community. 

Yaqut emphasized the importance of mutual understanding among religious communities, asserting that every religion has the right to establish a place of worship, albeit within the framework of respective religious rules. This underscores the crucial role of the community in fostering religious tolerance. 

“So, we have made this regulation as minimal as possible,” he added. “Now we are synchronizing with the coordinating minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs with several ministries regarding this regulation.” 

The Ministry of Religion must try to approach the community, which may still refuse to build a church. They also need to approach the regional leader to get a permit issued. 

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