Administrative Tasks Limit the Potential of FKUB in Maintaining Harmonization

INDONESIA

29/12/2021

  • Nurhadi Sucahyo

Twenty students from various religions visited GKP Kampung Sawah, Tuesday (30/4) afternoon.  In the Kampung Sawah Tolerance Tour, they visited 5 houses of worship and got to know the teachings of different religions.  (Photo: Rio Tuasikal/VOA)
Twenty students from various religions visited GKP Kampung Sawah, Tuesday (30/4) afternoon. In the Kampung Sawah Tolerance Tour, they visited 5 houses of worship and got to know the teachings of different religions. (Photo: Rio Tuasikal/VOA)

As the name implies, the Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB) was formed to maintain good relations between religious adherents in Indonesia. However, the burden of administrative tasks, especially related to the issue of permits for the establishment of places of worship, made this forum that was formed in 2006 unable to carry out its duties optimally.

This problem was found in research conducted by the Center for the Study of Religion and Democracy (PUSAD), Paramadina Foundation where the institution has just completed the preparation of the FKUB database in Indonesia.

PUSAD Paramadina researcher, Raditya Putranti Darningtyas.  (Photo: VOA/Nurhadi)
PUSAD Paramadina researcher, Raditya Putranti Darningtyas. (Photo: VOA/Nurhadi)

“FKUB at the district and city levels, actually its main task is to facilitate the construction of houses of worship and manage harmony in a broad sense. But a lot of energy and time is spent on administrative tasks, such as verifying the requirements for places of worship and so on,” said PUSAD researcher Raditya Putranti Darningtyas.

In the process of collecting data and research from 2018 to 2021, PUSAD Paramadina has distributed questionnaires to FKUB throughout Indonesia. To date, 331 FKUBs from 29 provinces, 66 cities and 236 regencies have sent answers. This amount is 60 percent of the total 548 FKUBs located throughout Indonesia.

In addition, PUSAD Paramadina will also conduct in-depth research throughout 2021 in Bogor City, Semarang City, Jepara Regency and Kulonprogo Regency.

Indonesian Millennial Vihara Sanlat.  (Photo: VOA/Main Ahadian)
Indonesian Millennial Vihara Sanlat. (Photo: VOA/Main Ahadian)

“Based on the results of the questionnaire, as well as our assessment, the four regions have breakthroughs, either in making new regulations, regarding the establishment of houses of worship or being involved in resolving certain dispute cases,” said Raditya regarding the election of the four regions.

In addition to being burdened with administrative tasks and less able to carry out tasks related to resolving disputes that occur between religious communities, other problems that arise faced by FKUB are the lack of support from the local government and internal institutional problems that limit the movement of one particular religious figure. Raditya added that FKUB in some areas rarely utilizes the role of female religious leaders in their management.

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Administrative Tasks Limit the Potential of FKUB in Maintaining Harmonization

by VOA Indonesia 

Progressive Area

Although there are shortcomings in various sectors, the research findings also reveal that there are some areas that are quite successful in maintaining harmony between religious communities. One of them is Semarang City. Syarif Hidayatullah from FKUB Semarang City said that the area has a Special Mayor Regulation regarding houses of worship.

Semarang City FKUB management.  Sharif Hidayatullah.  (Photo: VOA/Nurhadi)
Semarang City FKUB management. Sharif Hidayatullah. (Photo: VOA/Nurhadi)

According to Syarif, the regulation is quite helpful for FKUB in carrying out their duties because now the forum is only tasked with verifying new houses of worship. Meanwhile, permits for old houses of worship are managed by a different team, namely the interfaith verification team.

Semarang itself has modified the rules for granting permits for houses of worship where houses of worship that have been established before 2021, only require the signatures of 5 local religious leaders to obtain permits.

The rules that apply nationally require that a house of worship wishing to apply for a permit must obtain the signatures of 60 residents in the neighborhood where the house of worship is established. READ ALSO:Looking for an Equal Position of Religious Minorities in Indonesia

“There must be a difference, because a house of worship that has been standing for so long, that has built harmony for so long, is treated the same as having to collect 60 signatures,” continued Syarif.

With the modification of the rules, he continued, FKUB received a lot of recommendations for places of worship.

“Until now, the most we have given are permits for churches. More than other houses of worship,” he said.

Harmony Paradigm Problem

BRIN researcher, Ahmad Najib Burhani.  (Photo: VOA/Nurhadi)
BRIN researcher, Ahmad Najib Burhani. (Photo: VOA/Nurhadi)

FKUB, according to a researcher from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), Ahmad Najib Burhani, is indeed burdened by the word harmony itself. As a paradigm, harmony is in line with the paradigm of harmony, which is echoed by the Ministry of Religion.

In practice, Ahmad gives an example that in order to avoid clashes between religious adherents, harmony is applied with restrictions on minority groups where they are required to be ‘self-aware’.

In addition, harmony in the Indonesian context only applies to the six official religions.

“Meanwhile, other groups such as Shia or Ahmadiyah, or for example in Bali there are sectarian groups, splinter groups, that do not fall within the context of the harmony paradigm built by the government,” added Ahmad.

A police officer inspects the damage to the house of an Ahmadiyah member after being attacked in Pandeglang, Banten, Monday, February 7, 2011. (Photo: AP)
A police officer inspects the damage to the house of an Ahmadiyah member after being attacked in Pandeglang, Banten, Monday, February 7, 2011. (Photo: AP)

He also considered that harmony in Indonesia is often symbolic and not substantive. If there is a case of intolerance, for example, there is no joint effort to make a defense. Building symbols, such as a row of adjacent houses of worship, said Najib, is indeed important. However, this symbolic matter needs to be expanded in substantial steps. [ns/rs]

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