The declaration of 2022 as the year of tolerance by the Ministry of Religion is a breath of fresh air for the Indonesian people to create a safe space for all walks of life, especially minorities. The discrimination against marginalized and vulnerable groups in Indonesia in recent years shows that discrimination must be abolished immediately.
It is certainly not enough to be voiced by one party alone. However, it needs the support of various parties and related stakeholders to create a peaceful society regardless of differences in ethnicity, race, and certain groups. The implementation of peace in one area can be a small example that the Indonesian people really like peace. These spaces of peace certainly need to be voiced louder so that they can spread to become role models for other regions so that there is no more room for intolerance and discrimination.
As a small example, Kudus Regency, which is known as a religious city, is very diligent in implementing peace and is a tolerant city. This application can be seen from the social and community relations of different communities and beliefs that remain harmonious and mingle without any distinction. Kudus has a long history of implementing peacekeeping missions. The diversity of cultures and beliefs in the district is evident in the implementation of village activities and in a larger scope. The community prioritizes a sense of trust and unity to build synergy between all sectors of society, both from marginal groups to officials.
Like only the Menara Kudus building which is a symbol of tolerance for the city of Kudus, the Hindu-patterned motifs found on the Menara building show that Kudus really respects other beliefs. Likewise, the recommendation not to slaughter cows at every celebration of the Eid al-Adha holiday is proof of respect for the Hindu community who really respects cows. This form of acculturation of Islam-Hindu culture has been maintained for decades until now it is still preserved by the community.
Good Practices of Tolerance and Diversity
The existence of Kudus as a tolerant city is very much applied by the Kudus people. The harmony of people of different religions can be reflected in the adjacent worship buildings in several areas, such as Menara Kudus with its Confucian pagoda, churches in Cranggang Dawe, and Masjid-Vihara in Colo Dawe. They live in harmony even though they come from different backgrounds, and continue to carry out their worship without disturbing other beliefs. In addition, Kudus also accommodates diversity with certain places such as places of worship and cultural lodges. The Kudus community still upholds social values such as harmony and mutual help as taught by Sunan Kudus.
In fact, minority groups living in Kudus still get a safe and comfortable space both in carrying out their worship activities and in socializing with the majority group. For example, Kaliyoso Undaan Village with various belief groups made a declaration of non-violence on August 20, 2016. So that residents do not interfere with each other and live comfortably with the beliefs that have existed since their ancestors. The declaration is proof of the government’s concern for the diversity in its place.
In addition to the Undaan District, a plural society is also found in Gondangmanis Village, Bae District, Kudus Regency. Based on data from the religious followers of Gondangmanis village in 2020, there are 14,039 followers of Islam, 1,587 Christians, 245 Catholics, 3 Buddhists, and 5 Hindus. The data illustrates the diversity of religions in Gondangmanis Village. Instead of being a problem, the Gondangmanis people remain harmonious with their differences. There was never any religious case found in the village. Religious activities continue to run as they should by each individual.
The good practices implemented by minority communities of different religions or beliefs at the foot of Mount Muria are also a barometer of tolerance in Kudus. Apparently they can live side by side with each other safely, comfortably and peacefully, maintain good harmony between Christians and Muslims in Cranggang Dawe village, Buddhists and Muslims in Colo, the Ahmadiyah with the community and government of Colo village, and so on.
Different things actually happen outside the region. The number of conflicts in the name of religion and social discrimination certainly raises a big question, why can’t other regions apply the values of peace as in Kudus? The reason is that both in Central Java itself and outside there are many conflicts on the basis of religion, race, and minorities. For example, the case of the destruction of the Ahmadiyya mosque in Sintang, West Kalimantan, or the Ahmadiyya sect which does not get space and is not recognized in the local government regarding administrative requirements, ID cards, and positions in the village government. As a result, they feel ostracized, discriminated against, and do not get a safe and comfortable space in carrying out worship practices and socializing in their daily lives.
Therefore, good practices and harmonization applied by minority communities in Kudus and other areas can be imitated according to the culture and conditions in the field. So that way, there will be no more minority communities who feel excluded or discriminated against and harmony between people of various religions can be maintained. Joint efforts are needed to realize the discourse of the year of tolerance so that it will continue to be maintained as a habit and joint commitment on an ongoing basis. Cooperation and synergy in all sectors are needed from the government, society and religious organizations. In addition, the implementation of diversity and tolerance also needs to be supported by the dissemination and publication of media through peace journalism.
Thus, the declaration of the 2022 Year of Tolerance is not only a formality program for certain benefits. If all can synergize and cooperate well, then the hope of realizing a peaceful and tolerant Indonesia according to the discourse of the year of tolerance will find its momentum. It is very important to consolidate culture and cement and reaffirm the importance of tolerance in our country. Because the four main indicators that must exist in strengthening religious moderation are tolerance. non-violence, national insight, and friendly tradition.
It is not impossible, Indonesia’s hope to become a barometer of world tolerance can be echoed more widely. At the same time, best practice on tolerance in Indonesia can penetrate the global world with the spirit of tolerance to maintain peace and harmony. In this way, it is hoped that there will be a real need for the condition of our society to ensure a harmonious, peaceful, and tolerant religious life. Hopefully. (*)
Eka Rizkia Larasati ,
The author is a student of IAIN Kudus
This article was published for the sake of the competition, so the editing process was not carried out by the editor.