Indonesia’s Ancient Beliefs Win in Court, but Devotees Still Feel Ostracized

Source: The New York Times

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Growing up on the Indonesian island of Java in the 1970s, Dewi Kanti practiced an ancient form of indigenous traditional beliefs whose origins predate the arrivals of Christianity, Buddhism and Islam here by centuries.


Ironically, Ms. Dewi notes bitterly, those traditional beliefs make her a religious outcast in her own country today, where the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion but the government recognizes only six: Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Confucianism.

“The point here is how there is no justice,” she said. “Why can these big global religions spread and be recognized, but the original religion of Indonesia cannot?”

It is a question she and others are still waiting to see answered, despite a landmark ruling in November by the Constitutional Court that affirmed the rights of followers of traditional beliefs outside of the six recognized religions.


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