Jakarta – Leaders of the nation's official religious groups desire a peaceful 2024 general elections and reject the politicization of religion, according to a declaration read out at an event held by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the leading party in the government coalition.
The event, called the Religious Peoples' National Symposium, was held by the PDI-P through its umbrella organization Baitul Muslimin Indonesia at the PDI-P political party academy in South Jakarta on Tuesday.
The declaration was read out by Muhammadiyah's chief executive overseeing cooperation and international relations, Syafiq A. Mughni.
"To ensure the preservation of the Pancasila State [of Indonesia], we, participants of the Religious Peoples' National Symposium held on March 21, 2023 agree that we need to build peace in religious life to strengthen national unity and solidarity without discrimination or the politicization of religion," Syafiq said, as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday.
He added that the leaders realized that discrimination and the politicization of religion were antithetical to the state ideology Pancasila, and that they could lead to the disintegration of the nation.
Keen to avoid a repeat of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election and the 2019 presidential election, which saw a nation divided along religious and sectarian lines, grassroots leaders and politicians have sought to distance themselves from identity politics.
"For the preservation of Pancasila and the Republic of Indonesia," Syafiq said, quoting the joint declaration.
Meanwhile, the symposium's organizing committee chairman Irvansyah said that as the 2024 general elections approached, all sides should recognize the dynamics in national politics that are heating up.
"Politicizing religion for political interests by justifying all means will cause fractures and conflicts in the name of religion," Irvansyah said.
The event was also supported by Nahdlatul Ulama chairman Yahya Cholil Staquf, Muhammadiyah chairman Haedar Nashir, Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) chairman Antonius Subianto Bunjamin and the chairman of the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), Gomar Gultom.
The Indonesia Council of Buddhist Communities (Walubi) chairwoman Siti Hartati Murdaya, Indonesian Hindu Religious Council (PHDI) chairman Maj. Gen. (ret.) Wisnu Bawa Tenaya and the High Council of Confucianism in Indonesia (MATAKIN) chairman WS Budi Santoso Tanuwibowo also supported the event. (ami)