West Papua Religion– Although most West Papuans are non-Muslim, statistics reveal that the Islamic community has existed since 1512. Therefore, it becomes relevant to explore the existence of Muslims in West Papua Province with the latest conditions.
A Brief History of West Papua Religion
When spelling the word Papua, one of our associations is that most of the Papuan population adheres to the Christian religion. When the idea to make Manokwari the city of the gospel first surfaced, it also exacerbated this reputation.
It is a counterpoint to the calling of Aceh as Mecca and Makassar as the portico of Medina. Of course, that assumption is valid but irrelevant. The Kokoda, Irarutum, and Aranda tribes are part of the local Papuan population. They mostly follow Islam from generation to generation. Islam first entered the land of Papua compared to other religions.
The region’s distinctive characteristics with the contours of the coastal and mountainous areas then impact people’s lives. In the process, it also influences West Papua Religion identity. Meanwhile, other Papuans are not just Papuans of Papuan ethnicity alone. But people from different nationalities in Indonesia are also very significant.
Starting from Batak to Manado. Even the Bugis, Makassar, Buton tribes added with tribes originating from Maluku and Southeast Maluku. Among the immigrants, the majority are Muslims.
The arrival of these residents certainly cannot escape the religion they embrace. Before stepping onto the mainland of Papua, they had formed religious awareness from the start, obtained from each other’s environment. When in the community, interactions between groups always include spiritual elements as one element.
4 Facts About West Papua Religion
More Than Half of the Population of West Papua is Christian
The Directorate General of Population and Civil Registration (Dukcapil) of the Ministry of Home Affairs noted that the population of West Papua is 1.15 million people spread over 12 regencies and one city.
Of this number, the majority, or 619.8 thousand people (53.88%), of the population in West Papua are Christians.
Islam is the Second Largest Religion in West Papua
There are 438.84 thousand Muslims in Papua New Guinea, or 38.15 percent of the total population. There are also 89.44 thousand people (7.78%) of the population of West Papua who embrace the Catholic religion. Next, as many as 1,189 people (0.1%) of the population in the province with the capital city of Manokwari are Hindu, there are 895 people (0.08%) are Buddhist, and there are 54 people (0.0%) follow the belief.
Satu Tungku Tiga Batu
As an area with forests, seas, and mountains, Papua has an attraction for many newcomers so that they settle from Sorong in the southwest to Tanah Merah in Merauke, the eastern part of Papua.
With the arrival of outsiders, Papua became a small Indonesia. Even in the community association in Fakfak, sometimes a family consists of Christians, Catholics, and Muslims. This custom is referred to in Fakfak as “SatuTungku Tiga Batu.”
Culture & Religious Diversity
In the Muslim community, tolerance and respect for other religions are constantly promoted at all levels. Religious differences in the family do not prevent them from working together. Regardless of religion celebrating holidays and holy days, the family collectively works together to support each other’s celebrations.
The habit of different religious choices in one family is not unusual in West Papua religion and culture. Each family member consciously from the start, even though they may choose a different religious path.
However, family ties must remain intact. There has always been a strong emphasis on blood ties. Choosing a religious belief, however, is an individual matter. At the same time, the other families did not mind the choice.
Instead, support and provide recognition. Since the beginning, there has never been known exclusion of religious differences. There is a personality in faith that becomes a social convention. The size used is not on the spiritual aspect but solely on the extended family’s ties.