He stated, “Those who are Christians, Catholics, Hindus, and Confucians have the same rights in worship, freedom of religion and worship.”
President Widodo reminded leaders that the constitution guarantees the right to freely practice religion and worship in Indonesia. He asked all law enforcement officials to understand freedom of religion and worship. “Religion and practicing it are guaranteed by our constitution, guaranteed by Article 29 paragraph 2 of the 1945 Constitution. Don’t let the constitution lose because of an agreement. The constitution must not be inferior to an agreement,” said the President.
While the Indonesian constitution technically guarantees freedom of religion for all, the reality that religious minorities experience is often quite different. President Widodo’s speech comes on the heels of an incident that took place just before Christmas, when a regent barred Christians from holding a worship service in a local shop. Historically, Christians attempting to build churches in Indonesia have face significant pushback from their majority-Muslim communities and from their local leaders.