Long before the entry of Christianity and Islam into Papua, every ethnic group and religion in Papua Indonesia had a traditional belief system. Each tribe has traditional beliefs that believe in the existence of a god or God who has power over the gods.
Religion in Papua Indonesia
In West Papua Province, most of the population is Protestant, followed by Muslims and a small proportion are Catholic. Muslims and Christians have lived in harmony since before the independence of the Republic of Indonesia on August 17, 1945.
Religion in Papua Indonesia is an inseparable part of the Indonesian people and nation, so the joys and sorrows of religious people in the easternmost region of the archipelago are also joys and sorrows. -and sorrow, joy, and hope for all religious people in Indonesia.
“Religious people in Papua are an integral part of the nation and state of the Republic of Indonesia. The ups and downs and hopes of the Papuan religious people, especially the GBGP congregation, are the joys and sorrows of the entire Indonesian nation. For that reason, the GBGP congregation should not feel alone in this land of Papua, ” he said. He invited all religious communities in this region to maintain harmonious relations and live in harmony and peace based on the beliefs and teachings of each religion.
Religious Harmony in Papua Indonesia
The people of West Papua, especially religious leaders and the community, realize that the harmony that exists is the legacy of their ancestors or previous people.
This history has made the bonds of harmony between religious communities in West Papua always well maintained. In addition, local wisdom known as ‘One Tungku Tiga Batu’ is also the foundation of religious harmony in West Papua.
However, religious and community leaders in West Papua still have to maintain harmony through their respective roles, duties, and responsibilities.
Spread of Religion in Papua
On February 5, 1885, Sultan Tidore brought two missionaries from the Netherlands and Germany to Mansinam Island, Manokwari Regency, West Papua Province. The two missionaries were Reverends Carl Wilhelm Ottow and Johann Gottlob Geissler.
“These two missionaries were brought to Mansinam Island by the Sultan of Tidore. At that time, the Sultan of Tidore controlled the Papua region,” said Ustadz Nausrau.
He said the two missionaries were facilitated and provided a boat to take them to Mansinam Island. Even the head of the Tidore Sultanate brought the two missionaries safely to Mansinam Island. That history is the basis for the spread of Christianity religion in Papua, Indonesia.
He asserted that it’s likely that without the assistance of the Sultan of Tidore in the country of Papua, Christianity may not have advanced as quickly. This history concludes that there has been interfaith harmony in Papua since the State of Indonesia was not yet founded.
“So there has been cooperation between the two religions, namely Islam and Christianity, since then, which has become the foundation,” said Ustadz Nausrau, the chairman of the West Papuan Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).
This local wisdom symbolizes religious harmony in West Papua, including Islam, Protestantism, and Catholicism. So in one family or clan, it is customary to consist of Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics. So likened to one furnace, three stones.
“Even though they have different beliefs, in their social life, they help each other, work hand in hand with each other,” explained Ustadz Nausrau.
He emphasized that the harmony between Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics is still good. Although many trials and disturbances can break the bond of peace, their bond remains strong because their bond is familial.
He said the inter-religious harmony built in West Papua was a harmony built on a solid family foundation within a clan. It serves as the cornerstone of West Papua’s unity, which is robust and well-established in comparison to other areas.
According to Ustadz Nausrau, the central government must keep assisting the people of West Papua. It purpose is to preserving and firmly upholding the harmony established in that region. As well as maintaining peace and tolerance in West Papua.
He thought that awards from the government shouldn’t just be pleasantries; they should actually be useful to the people of West Papua.
He said that with support from the central government, FKUB at the provincial and religious institutions could be more empowered to maintain harmony. Because to maintain the balance of religion in Papua Indonesia, the government cannot do it alone.