The Existence, Population, and History of Islam in West Papua

Islam in West Papua

Islam is a religion that is most widely embraced by the people of Indonesia. however, its existence is different in each region in Indonesia. The existence of Islam in West Papua has become a minority religion that has just emerged in the midst of society.

The Population of Papuan People

At the end of 2021, West Papua Province will have a total population of 1.15 million. 39.93% of this total population is currently married, while 57.5% of the population is single.

Additionally, 1.95% and 0.61%, respectively, of the population are divorced.

In West Papua, the male population outnumbers the female population. Males make up 599.79 thousand of the province’s population (52.14%), while females make up 550.45 thousand (478.6%).

The regencies in West Papua are Fakfak Regency, Kaimana Regency, Manokwari Regency, South Manokwari Regency, Maybrat Regency, and there are several others.

The History of Islam in West Papua

The first thing you need to know about the existence of Islam in West Papua is about the history.

According to Hikayat Bacan, Kaicil Jelman, a young brother of the Sultan of Bacan, was given control of Misool Island in 1512. He later became the first Muslim sultan in the area.

Waigeo and other islands that had previously been ruled by the Bacan Sultanate experienced the same situation.

Numerous tribal leaders on the west coast of Papua Island started to accept Islam in the middle of the 15th century as a result of the Bacan Sultanate’s religious propagation efforts.

The majority of Muslims live in West Papua’s islands and coastal regions, including Sorong, Raja Ampat, Fakfak, Kaimana, and Bintuni Bay.

Besides that, Islam is still a minority religion embraced by only a few people in these areas.

The Population of Islam in West Papua

According to the 2021 census, 38.06% of the 1,150,000 people living in West Papua, which has a total population, identify as Muslims.

Islam is said to have spread to West Papua through a number of kingdoms in the Maluku Islands, whose influence extended to Papua Island’s western region.

The existence of Islam itself continues to spread in various regions in West Papua.

The practice of having many religious affiliations within a same family is not unusual, and it has expanded beyond Fakfak and Raja Ampat to Wondama and Bintuni.

Each family member makes their religious preferences known from the beginning, even if they may do so intentionally.

However, it is important to uphold and preserve family bonds. Family bonds have always been important. But when it comes to choosing a religion that is a matter of personal freedom.

The Religion Embraced by Most of the People of West Papua

West Papua has a population of 1.15 million people, distributed among 12 regencies and one city. According to the Directorate General of Population and Civil Registration (Dukcapil), a division of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Of this total, the majority of West Papua’s population, or 619.8 thousand persons (53.88%), is Christians. Islam also overtook Christianity as the second most popular religion in West Papua.

There are 438.84 thousand Muslims in Papua New Guinea, or 38.15 percent of the total population.

Additionally, 7.78% of West Papua’s population, or 89.44 thousand individuals, identify as Catholic.

Secondly, in the province with Manokwari as its capital city, 1,189 people (0.1%), 895 people (0.08%). And 54 people (0.0%) are Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of other religions.

Although the presence of Islam in West Papua is still small, its spread is growing rapidly.

The religious differences that are owned by the people of West Papua do not break their sense of belonging.

No wonder there are still many indigenous tribes who continue to try to maintain the values of their ancestors.