Religious tolerance in Papua is very high. For example, during the Easter celebration in the middle of Ramadan, people from different religions still help each other.
Jayapura, Papua (ANTARA) - Easter celebrations in the middle of Ramadhan this year have strengthened the spirit of tolerance among the community, especially in Papua. The ability to maintain a tolerant attitude has radiated warmth to every human being in the area.

Mutual respect for one another has been key to maintaining interfaith tolerance in Papua. It has also helped the province rank second in the Indonesian Harmony Index.

Acting Assistant for the Economy and People's Welfare at the Regional Secretariat of Papua Province Suzana Wanggai said that Easter, which is celebrated in the middle of the holy month of Ramadhan, is a moment to strengthen religious tolerance in Papua.

In recent years, Papua has consistently ranked in the top three nationally in the religious harmony index. This indicates that people from all regions of Papua are maintaining a tolerant attitude at all times and places.

“Religious tolerance in Papua is very high. For example, during the Easter celebration in the middle of Ramadhan, people from different religions still help each other. Muslims help secure the church, and vice versa during Eid al-Fitr," Wanggai, who is also head of the Border Agency for Foreign Cooperation, observed.

She also urged religious people to not be easily provoked by unverified rumors spread by irresponsible parties who want to undermine Papua’s unity and integrity.

If they are provoked by fake news or hoaxes, community members will not be able to achieve peace between people from different religions.

“Do not trust fake news or hoaxes that are often spread to destroy peace and tolerance among religious people here,” she emphasized.

Wanggai then called for the development of human resources (HR), especially in the aspect of spirituality. Good skills in this aspect will improve the quality and competitiveness of the Papuan people, she remarked.

According to her, synergy between government institutions is essential to achieve development programs.

Development in the fields of religion, religious education, and religious harmony in Papua must be supported so it can be accelerated to achieve goals promptly.

The Papuan government is supporting religious moderation as part of an effort to create peaceful diversity. This is so that the quality of people's diversity and religious harmony can be maintained and continue to increase from time to time.

Maintaining tolerance

Not long ago, the Sarmi district government in Papua was given the Harmony Award by the Ministry of Religious Affairs for its success in maintaining tolerance in the area.

Acting Head of Sarmi District Markus Oktovianus Mansnembra said that the award was the result of joint hard work between the district government, the community, religious leaders, and other agencies who continued to maintain religious harmony.

"The people of Sarmi District are grateful because, for the first time, they received an award for preserving religious harmony,” he said.

Winning the Harmony Award was actually an additional prize because the main goal was to maintain inter-religious harmony, he added.

For this matter, the district government and the local community need to be consistent in maintaining religious tolerance in Sarmi District.

The district head also asked residents to maintain inter-religious harmony to keep the district safe and peaceful.

Therefore, receiving the award is not the end of the hard work, he said. This appreciation should motivate the local government and the community to continue to maintain what they have both achieved, he added.

Mansnembra said that the region has always demonstrated its commitment to realizing religious tolerance.

Given the attitude adopted by Sarmi District, it is hoped that Papua will always be peaceful. A sense of security, peace, and serenity is social capital for creating cooperation between citizens.

Spirit of tolerance

The head of Sabron Sari Village, Jayapura District, Papua, Marwan Hasyim, said that as a village that is aware of harmony, his party is always passionate about inviting the local community to maintain tolerance.

He expressed the hope that all people in Papua would also maintain inter-religious tolerance in their respective areas.

"I hope that the villages in Papua can jointly maintain security and togetherness. Negative and harmful things must be avoided because there is no benefit in them,” he remarked.

In order to keep the situation conducive and safe, his party is intensively approaching traditional leaders, religions, and religious organizations.

Moreover, the village government has been regularly participating in religious activities and providing inputs and views on the current situation.

Religious leaders, village officials, and neighborhood officials have also been raising awareness among the community on building harmony to prevent misunderstanding between residents and immediately resolve any issues related to religion that they find.

From the Village Fund provided by the government, his party has also set aside a budget to support religious activities, traditional leaders, landlords, and funeral ceremonies.

Even so, Hasyim said that his party must increase efforts to maintain harmony among residents, including by conducting a village program that will later support the local community's economy.

"We are also promoting food security because this sector is a new source of economy for families in Sabron Sari village. Later, this area can become an independent village," he noted.

The maintenance of a safe and peaceful society accompanied by a tolerant attitude for every citizen is an important capital for the development of a region.

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Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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