Fauzi, Nabil Ihsan, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD stated that the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia was founded as a religious nation-state based on no particular religion.
"Indonesia is founded as a religious nation-state and not as an Islamic nation-state," Mahfud stated at the Indonesian Association of Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) gathering here on Friday (May 12) evening.
"Each religion worships a different god, but we are united by our differences," he affirmed.
The coordinating minister said that one characteristic of a religious nation-state is tolerance of differences by acknowledging that differences existing between each other are God's Will.
Highlighting Verse 48 of Al Maidah – the fifth chapter of the Quran – Mahfud said that if the Almighty God pleased, He might have made humans as a single people, but in the end, He created humans with differences, including in creeds.
"But He creates us with differences, so we can vie in virtuous deeds," he emphasized.
Moreover, the coordinating minister stated that another characteristic of a religious nation-state is its cosmopolitan character, which means that one might understand other people may be different but united in a nation.
"It has been exemplified by Prophet Muhammad, who declared the Constitution of Medina, for which the contents are the same as the Declaration of Independence of our Republic of Indonesia," he stated.
Mahfud said the Constitution of Medina consisted of 47 articles, with 24 articles alone mandating protection for Medina residents from different ethnic groups, races, and religions.
"So Islam is inclusive and cosmopolitan in the life of our nation," he remarked.
The coordinating minister also stressed that Muslims, as the largest religious group in Indonesia, should not be arrogant against those belonging to religious minorities.
He affirmed that while engaging in worldly activities, a Muslim can work with those belonging to different religions by adhering to what has been stated in verse 6 of Al Kafirun – the 109th chapter of the Quran – that "For you is your religion, and for me is my religion."