Trust the authorities concerned to settle the case. Put national unity above group interest."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin has emphasized that banning a religious service was a violation of the constitution, which all citizens must uphold and implement.

"All citizens of Indonesia must fulfill their obligations and abide by the existing rules," he said in a press statement received here on Monday.

He made these remarks in response to the incident in Tolikara, Papua, on Friday, when a group of people had disturbed Muslims who were performing Eid prayers.

The minister pointed out that the constitution guarantees every citizens freedom to embrace a religion and practice it.

If a religious institution bans and conducts violent acts against adherents of other religions while they are praying, it can be considered an act of undermining the authority of the constitution because banning a religious service and resorting to violence clearly violates it.

"Parties, individuals or institutions proven guilty of committing it (violence against followers of any particular religion) do not merely violate human rights, which are guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution, but also break the pillars of interreligious harmony," Saifuddin remarked.

The minister further noted that law enforcers must be able to handle and take action against the perpetrators of the incident, regardless of whether they were religious figures or an organization or institution.

Moreover, he has appealed to religious figures and institutions to work in tandem to maintain interfaith harmony and peace and to uphold human rights.

"I urge religious figures and councils to consistently ensure harmonious and peaceful relations among followers of various religions by always respecting the human rights of those performing religious services," he stressed.

In addition, with regard to the Tolikara incident, he called on all parties to not be provoked into taking law into their own hands.

"Trust the authorities concerned to settle the case. Put national unity above group interest. Safeguard the Unitary State of Indonesia against provocateurs," Saifuddin stated.

On Friday, members of the Evangelical Church in Indonesia (GIDI) forcibly dispersed people gathered at an Eid prayer service.

To drive them away, security personnel fired warning shots but failed to stop the rioting, which led to the burning of a number of kiosks and an Islamic house of prayer.

At least one person was killed and 11 others wounded in the incident.

Minister Saifuddin had sent a team to the location to implement required measures in coordination with local officials, to settle the issue and prevent it from escalating.

(Reporting by Anom Prihantoro/Uu.H-YH/INE/KR-BSR/B003)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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