The Papuan Local Wisdom of Religious Harmony and Unity of Indonesia

Indonesia is an archipelagic country with very rich ethnic and cultural diversity. However, the diversity does not become a roadblock to unity, instead it is the cornerstone that unites Indonesia from Sabang to Marauke. Since the Youth Pledge in 1928, every Indonesian citizen from Sabang to Marauke have sworn under the pledge of one nation and one flag. Bhineka Tunggal Ika is the Indonesia motto which means, differ yet still one. Hence, although the Indonesian people have many different ethnicity, cultures, and religions, but they are still Indonesia citizens. That motto is held by every Indonesian citizen. Therefore, during the Youth Pledge day, the people of Papua are also celebrating it joyfully.

Bhineka Tunggal Ika is also the motto for the Papuan people. Hence, they always hold the spirit of tolerance and harmony. One of their ways in maintaining religious harmony in Papua is by holding an interfaith event. On 30 October 2016, Forum of Religious Harmony in Mimika held an interfaith prayer with Nusantara Bersatu (Indonesia United) event that was held in Timika Indah square. The interfaith prayer was lead by leaders from five religions in Mimika. The Head of Forum for Religious Harmony in Mimika Ignatius Adii hope that everyone in Mimika should maintain the harmony and peace regardless of social status and background. Although the religious harmony in Mimika is good, but this interfaith prayer is hoped to maintain the religious harmony in Papua even further.

“As a good citizen, we support this event. Whatever our faith and religion, I’m sure that communal prayer is important to maintain the unity of our nation and to shield it from any potential divisive factors and conflicts,” said the Head of Forum for Religious Harmony in Mimika Ignatius Adii, cited from AntaraPapua.

“In Timika there is no clash between religious group. If it’s Eid, the youth of church will come to protect the mosque. The same applies during Christmas, where the youth of mosque will come to protect the church,” said Hj. Dede, one of the Sundanese community leaders, cited from AntaraPapua.

In Fakfak, they have the motto of satu tungku tiga batu (three stones in one stove) that has been passed through many generations for religious harmony in Papua. The same as Bhineka Tunggal Ika, that motto also holds the spirit of tolerance that becomes the cornerstone of religious harmony in Papua. This principle is a metaphor for one stove that’s being supported by three stones, those stones in order to keep it from toppling down. Those stones are the symbol of the religions that common in Papua, which are Catholic, Protestant, and Islam. The concept of that motto is togetherness, tolerance, and harmony.

That is one of the examples of the spirit of tolerance and harmony in Papua. Although Papua is in the corner of Indonesia, the Papuan people still hold the spirit of Bhineka Tunggal Ika as their harmonious way of life despite the cultural, ethnic, and religion diversity in Papua. Their spirit of tolerance should be an example to every citizens of Indonesia.


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