Is the Freedom to Establish Places of Worship Already Protected? Reflecting From Bekasi City

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Indonesia is a pluralistic nation, consisted of various ethnicities, religions, races, and culture. The total population of Indonesia is 237 million People (BPS, 2010), which is spread across 17,508 islands from Sabang to Merauke. These conditions would make Indonesia to have a very high potential for conflict, one of them is inter-religious conflict.

Based on data from Setara Institute, 222 violations of freedom of religion/belief with 292 forms of action spread across 20 provinces.1 Then it is said that there were 43 places of worship were being targeted by the offenders. Disruption to places of worship in the incidents documented in 2013 largely led to the churches, as many as 27 incidents. Mosques were targeted for disruption in 17 incidents. The rest, the monastery became the object of an interruption in 2 incidents and places of worship for Aliran Kepercayaan in two incidents, while a temple in one incident.

While the Report on the Independence to Religion/Belief in 2013 from The Wahid Institute stated that during the period of January to December 2013, the number of violations or intolerance incidents found in Indonesia was 245 cases or incidents. Forms of violations or intolerance committed by state actors, the act of inhibiting/ blocking/ sealing of places of worship was the most widely committed act (28 cases) in 2013. Then most casualties suffered by the Church (15 institutions), followed by Mosque JAI (12 institutions).

Therefore, in order to create religious harmony, the government issued a Joint Decree of the Minister of Religious Affair and the Minister of Internal Affair Number 8 and 9 Year 2006 regarding Regulation of Duties of Regional Head and Deputy in Maintaining Religious Harmony, Empowering the Forum of Religious Harmony, and Establishing Places of Worship or also known as PBM 2006. PBM 2006 was the result of a compromise on various elements of the acknowledged religions in Indonesia. However, the problem of religious harmony in Indonesia is still a challenge in Indonesia, where one of them is related to conflict on constructing the places of worship.