There should be strong commitment from all stakeholders."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Tolikara incident of intolerance in Papua was only a tip of the iceberg that needs serious addressing.

Thawing the iceberg is not enough only with meetings and talks between religious leaders.

"The grass root has to be involved, chairman of the Hajj and Umrah Association of the Nahdlatul Ulama (PP Asbihu NU) KH. Hafidz Taftazani said here on Friday.

Hafids said it is time and urgent for the country to have a nationally effective regulation on religious tolerance.

He pointed to the Tolikara incident in Papua , saying it was only a tip of the iceberg.

The incident that took place on July 17 when local Christian mob attacked and pelted stones at Muslims performing Eid-ul-fitr prayers in Karubaga, has angered the countrys Muslims all over the country.

The predominantly Muslims country was gripped with tension as the attackers also reportedly set fire on kiosks and a mosque. Authorities, however, said the mosque, which was close to the flaming kiosks was not set on fire but it caught fire.

Hafidz urged the government to immediately wrap up debate on draft law on protection for religious followers (PUB) as the problem faced by religious communities are complex.

The debate on the draft law was intense in the beginning but it quickly became a by gone issue, he said.

He repeated saying that the draft law is important and passing it into law is urgent.

The draft law called for measure against insult of religions, therefore, the religious affairs ministry should again bring forth the issue of religious protection, he said.

"Protection for religious communities and prevention of insult of religions are urgent. The drafting of the regulation would certainly involve four ministries - Religious Affairs Ministry, Law and Human Right Ministry, Domestic Affairs Ministry and Political Affairs, Law and Security Ministry," he said.

He said if the bill is passed into law, special regulations issued by regional administrations not in line with the Constitution have to be scrapped.

"There should be strong commitment from all stakeholders," he said.

Hafidz said for NU the Tolikara incidents should serve as a lesson, adding Nahdiyin (NU Muslims) should not be provoked into committing negative action.

NU should continue to attach greater importance to the principle of Islamic brotherhood, national brotherhood and mankind brotherhood.

"Under these types of brotherhood, people would not be split by primordial partitions such as religions, tribes, sexes etc.

"We are part of the mankind, all Gods creatures. What would happen if Nahdiyin do not stick to this concept. NU is against harboring revenge," he said.

He reminded the government of the importance of the role of the Forum of Inter Faith Harmony (FKUB)to avert religious conflicts especially in the regions.

Earlier, the Commission VIII of the Parliament said that the form of the draft law on protection for religious communities proposed by the government was not clear.

A Commission VIII lawmaker Maman Imanulhaq said that based on its academic text, the draft law could not yet effectively prevent communal conflicts on behalf of religion or faiths.

In addition the draft law fails to make religious harmony as the priority, Maman said.

"The draft law regulates only definition of official religions not covering all faiths. Whereas we expect a draft law that protects followers of all faiths," he said.

He said a draft law on PUB should accommodate constitutional rights of all citizens as ruled in chapter 29 point 1 of the 1945 Constitution, that the draft law when it becomes law could serve as a big umbrella to create and maintain tolerance and humanitarian values in religious life.

The draft law on PUB does not necessarily regulate sanctions on offenders on behalf of religion, he said, adding, "leave it to the law enforcement agencies."

The draft law on PUB is limited in function to regulating a mechanism of internal and inter faith relations in the context of state and humanitarian values, he said.

The government needs to open discussions with non governmental organizations (LSM), academicians and other related parties that the form of the draft law is ideal and ready to be proposed to the parliament for debate before it is passed into a law, he said.

"The problem is that so far the government has always been evasive when asked about the academic text of the draft law on PUB," he said.

Maman, who was a leaders of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the countrys largest non political Islamic organization, said he was concerned about the Tolikara incident.

"The incident is expected to give greater urgency to the formulation of the law on PUB," he said.

On Thursday (July 23), the corner stone was laid to mark the start of work to build new kiosks to replace ones burned down in the Tolikara incident. A day earlier the ground breaking ceremony was led by Home Affairs Minister Tjahyo Kumolo for the replacement of a mosque also destroyed by fire in the incident.

"We hope that before the construction of the new mosque has been completed, a place for religious service could be made available," local Islamic teacher (Ustadz) Ali Usman said via telephone.

Addressing the ceremony, attended by local authorities, the Ustad said he hope that local people would welcome the existence of the mosque as a house of worship for local Muslims in Karabuga, Tolikara.

"There should be guarantee for freedom to perform religious services. Tolerance should not be only a rhetoric, but it should be socialized at grass root level," he said.

An NU activist , chairman of the association of NU students Abdul Wahab said via telephone from Karabuga , the incident had caused great concern among the NU Muslims, not only in Indonesia but also in other countries such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"I am in Karabuga to help local Muslims, victims of the incident. Friends in Hong Kong and Taiwan have given relief aid," Wahab said on Friday.

He said the situation was already normal in Karabuga but the local Muslims were still gripped by the traumatic experience.

Religious affairs minister Lukman Hakim Saefuddin said FKUB is unique as the only organization grouping large religious councils.

FKUB has units totaling 512 in all provinces of the country.

Religions are powerful forces and could be constructive if they are properly practiced, but otherwise they could be destructive and devastating, the minister said.

Reporter: Edy Supriatna Sjafei and A. Sa
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2015