Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The Religious Affairs Ministry made an earnest appeal to all national stakeholders to keep away from the politicization of religion to rally political support in the 2024 General Election.

"We could not deny the fact that there must be some individuals that use religious (sentiments) for political campaigns. Hence, the Religious Affairs Ministry urged all national stakeholders not to campaign by (exploiting) religious sentiment," the ministry's Secretary General, Nizar Ali, stated here on Wednesday (February 22).

After attending the signing of a cooperation agreement between the ministry's West Nusa Tenggara office and the province's General Election Commission (KPU) office, he said that Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas had stressed that politicization of religion must not occur.

"The ministry's stance is crystal clear that the politicization of religion is prohibited. This is to protect religious harmony in Indonesia," he affirmed.

Ali said the ministry is keen to prevent differences in political preferences realized through ethnic groups, religion, racial, and inter-group relations sentiments.

Meanwhile, the ministry's official also urged that places of worship should not be used for political campaigns, either for presidential, legislative, or regional elections.

"The Religious Affairs Ministry clearly prohibits places of worship to be used for the politicization of religion and to host a (political) campaign," Ali emphasized.

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Speaking in connection as to whether the ban is extended to Islamic boarding schools (pesantren), the secretary general emphasized that the ministry's stance remains unchanged.

However, the ministry could only deliver the appeals to boarding schools, as the authority for taking legal action against violating institutions rests with other agencies, he pointed out.

"Pesantrens have their own authority, and our duty is only to oversee that no politicization of religion will occur. We can promptly act against (violating) state apparatus, but we cannot take action against members of the public, as its authority rests with other agencies," Ali remarked.

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Translator: Nur Imansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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