Jakarta (ANTARA) - Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Qoumas has urged officials to be proactive in supporting the religious worship of residents, particularly at religious sites designated as cultural heritage monuments.

"This morning, I instructed the ministry's Director General of Hindu Community Guidance to facilitate the use of temples for Hindu worship by coordinating with the Directorate General of Culture of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology," Qoumas informed, according to a statement released here on Thursday.

The minister made the remarks in response to a Hindu resident’s complaint on social media that she was not allowed to worship at Ijo Temple in Sleman, Yogyakarta.

She said that upon arriving at the temple to perform worship at 6 p.m., she found the temple closed and the temple's guard told her that the temple is a cultural heritage and not a place of worship.

Qoumas said that all residents have the right to worship according to their beliefs, and no one can prevent them from conducting worship, as the government is required to ensure this.

"However, local apparatus sometimes do not understand the procedures -- we must admit it has happened -- which has often caused a misunderstanding," the minister added.

He then expressed the hope that the issue will not recur in the future and appealed to residents to disregard any party seeking to politicize the issue.

Meanwhile, the ministry's Director General of Hindu Community Guidance, I Nengah Duija, said that his side will involve the Culture Ministry and local officials to prepare a record of Hindu temples that are still used for worship throughout the country.

He also called for restraint on the part of all parties and urged them not to incite discord on social media on the Ijo Temple issue.

"This is a lesson for all of us because worshipping in a Hindu temple is the right of its adherents. Yet, the Cultural Heritage Office, as the temple manager, still has regulations that must be respected," Duija said.

Earlier, Head of the ministry's Cultural Preservation Office Region X, Manggar Sari Ayuati, who oversees the Ijo Temple, had issued an apology over the incident. However, she also emphasized that procedures at the temple must be observed.

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Translator: Asep Firmansyah, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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