Religious Affairs Ministry’s planned preacher certification is unjust, discriminative: MPR

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Religious Affairs Ministry's planned preacher certification is unjust, discriminative: MPR

GLOBALMEDIA.ID, Jakarta, 20/8 (ANTARA) – Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) Deputy Chairman Hidayat Nur Wahid strongly believes that the Religious Affairs Ministry’s plan to make it obligatory for Islamic preachers to have a certification is an unfair and discriminatory policy.

The Ministry of Religion must not give bad “gifts” to Indonesian Muslims during the commemoration of Indonesia’s Independence Day and the Islamic New Year of 1442 Hijriah.

“In fact, according to historical facts, Muslims are very instrumental in saving the integrity of the Republic of Indonesia. This especially holds significance when Muslims are willing to make sacrifices and to fulfill the demands of changing the first principle of Pancasila to God Almighty, so that the integrity of the Republic of Indonesia, whose independence was just proclaimed on 17-8-1945, is safe,” Nur Wahid noted in a statement here on Wednesday.

In fact, non-Muslim figures, such as Christ Wamena, have vociferously rejected and condemned the Ministry of Religion’s plan to certify Islamic preachers, he stated.

The planned regulation is only applicable to Muslims, while non-Muslim preachers are not mandated to hold certificates.

“The religious affairs minister must not discriminate against Muslims and must act fairly according to the 2nd and 5th principles of Pancasila. If the certification program is to be implemented as well, it must be professional, trustworthy, fair, and not discriminatory, as well as take into account the aspect of politicization, in particular,” he remarked.

The member of Commission VIII of the DPR RI believes that the government’s policy should be applied for preachers of all religions in a fair and trustworthy manner, if preacher certification were to exist.

“Moreover, the minister of religious affairs had once stated that he is not the minister of Islam but the minister of all religions,” he emphasized.

Nur Wahid affirmed that he supports moderate and tolerant Islam and rejects radicalism. He, however, views the discourse on certification of Islamic preachers only as being discriminatory and unprofessional.

The discourse on Islamic preacher certification, rolled out since 2015, is an exaggerated one, according to the MPR deputy chairman.

The policy can, in fact, be intolerant and not moderate, as it is better to present an example on tolerance and moderation, among others, by opening up room for dialogue, if the goal was to prevent radicalism and present moderate, tolerant, and non-radical religious preachers, he remarked.

“Even if the program were to be implemented, the rules must be applied to preachers of all religions. The selection must be conducted transparently by applying measures justified by the teachings of each religion as well as legal provisions that apply in the Republic of Indonesia,” he stated.

Nur Wahid was admittedly shocked by the “insistent” stance adopted by the Ministry of Religion since the Islamic preacher certification policy was not part of President Jokowi’s campaign promise nor was it a priority activity for the 2020 Government/Ministry of Religion Work Plan as submitted to the DPR at the end of 2019 and April 2020 after refocusing of activities owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, the MPR deputy chairman expressed concern over the fact that the discriminatory policy could raise suspicion against the government, mutual suspicion among religious preachers, and trigger restlessness, especially if the program were to be implemented to make it difficult for Islamic preachers and Muslims.

“In fact, they (Islamic preachers) had been highly instrumental in fighting for Indonesian independence, and they had been accused of being radical by the Dutch colonialists. Muslims have, so far, been very tolerant, fulfilling the demands of minorities, with the agreement to change the first precept being Belief in the Almighty Godliness,” he noted.

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