Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Tuesday bemoaned the ban against the establishment of houses of worship that still persists to this day in the form of local government regulations or instructions.
The President asserted that such acts contradict the Constitution which guarantees the freedom of religion and worship. He gave an example of an Interfaith Communication Forum (FKUB) meeting that agreed to not allow the construction of a house of worship.
"Don't let the constitution lose against an agreement. The constitution must not forfeit from agreements," said the President ahead of hundreds of regional leaders in the Regional Head National Coordination Meeting (Rakornas) in West Java's Sentul ICC, on January 17.
"These examples make me think sometimes. Is it really that difficult for someone to practice their religion? It saddens me to hear such a thing," Jokowi said.
Jokowi emphasized that each and every religious people in Indonesia have the same right to worship. "Our constitution guarantees freedom of religion and worship, even if it's only one, two, three cities or regencies, be watchful for such cases," the President reminded the audience.
Last year, one of the religious discrimination cases happened as the Maranatha Batak Protestant Huria Christian (HKBP) planned to build a church on land the community owns in Cilegon City, Banten. This plan was met with resistance from locals and regional apparatus.