A prominent Christian politician in Indonesia has called for the removal of religion from national identification cards, according to a Jakarta Globe report.
All Indonesians are required to identify themselves as adherents of
Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, or Confucianism.
The nation of 251 million is 86% Muslim, 6% Protestant, 3% Catholic, and
Lieutenant Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama of Jakarta, the nation’s
capital, said that “the practice discriminates against citizens who do
not participate in state-sanctioned religions, but are forced to declare
one against their beliefs in order to gain an ID card,” according to a Jakarta Globe paraphrase of his remarks.
Khabar Southeast Asia, a website of the US military’s Pacific Command,
reported that Purnama called for the addition of a seventh option
(“other”) on the ID card, rather than for the removal of religion.
In its reporting, the US Pacific Command’s website changed the names of
the six official religions – which various reference works, as well as
the Indonesian embassy in the US, list as Islam, Catholicism,
Protestantism, Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism – to “Islam,
Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism or Confucianism,”
with the implication that “Roman Catholicism” is distinct from
An official of Nahdlatul Ulama, a powerful Sunni Muslim organization, opposed Purnama’s proposal, according to the website.
“By knowing somebody's religion, we can be mindful of being tolerant,” said Tubagus Robbyansyah.