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For Papua, Tolerance is a Philosophy of Life

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In Papua, harmony between religious communities has proven to be strong and solid. The diversity of religions and traditional beliefs is always characterized by an attitude of tolerance, mutual respect, and respect for each other’s beliefs so that they live side by side in peace and harmony.

According to young Papuan leader, Jan Cristhian Arebo, Papuan youths also have an active and very large role in maintaining harmony between religious communities in Papua. They and religious leaders often become agents of change in promoting dialogue, tolerance, and respect for religious diversity to build bridges between various religious groups and strengthen positive social ties.

“Harmony between religious communities in Papua is a tool to strengthen national unity within the framework of the Republic of Indonesia,” stressed Arebo.

A manifestation of religious tolerance in Papua, for example, can be seen when building places of worship. They help each other in building mosques and churches. Papua has a strong culture of tolerance, one of which is the bakar batu tradition from the Dani tribe. It also becomes a medium for reconciling the two conflicting parties.

Therefore, the Chair of PWNU (largest Islamic mass organization in Indonesia) of Papua, Dr. Toni Wanggai, stated that the Ramadan tradition or religious tradition of maintaining tolerance and harmonization has become the philosophy of life for Papuans. The tradition of one stove with three stones has become a practice in everyday life. Custom and religion do not conflict but complement each other, so they have become the main wealth. For this reason, Papua is known as a land of peace, and it has been proven by the declaration of all Papuan figures that Papua is a land of peace. Based on this declaration, February 5 is celebrated as the day of all religions. This is why the Ambon and Poso riots (1998-2001) did not spread to Papua, which shows the Papua people’s commitment to maintaining peace and spreading love.

He also emphasized that customs and religion in Papua are closely related and complementary. Papuans successfully balance their traditional values with their religious beliefs, while others may choose to prioritize one over the other.

Meanwhile, anthropologist, Prof. Dr. M Ikhsan Tanggok, stated that customs and religion can still be compromised, and can be adapted to be practiced as is the case in Indonesia. For example, bakar batu used to burn pork can be replaced with other animal meat such as chicken, goat, and others. Certain groups do not want to mix customs and religion, but not too many. So, even though people are religious, they cannot abandon their traditions. Religion without customs is also difficult to translate and ground.

“The harmonious situation during the month of Ramadan and ahead of Eid al-Fitr in Papua is expected to be an example for the world community of how Christian-majority areas can respect minority groups within them. “There will be no future cases that could damage Papua’s image as a harmonious region,” he stressed at the Webinar on Ramadan Traditions in Papua: Strengthening Tolerance and Harmonization (3/04).

BRIN researcher, Dr. Mohammad Fathi Royyani, stated that harmonization, tolerance, and respect for diversity are the lifeblood and genetics of the Papuan people. This adds to the overall beauty of the Papuan landscape, not only nature is beautiful, but the cultural, religious, and social landscape is also beautiful.

According to him, customs and religion in Papua are closely related and complementary. Papuans successfully balance their traditional values with their religious beliefs, while others may choose to prioritize one over the other.

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