Social development in West Papua and Papua is also needed. One example is to maintain peace despite religious diversity. Therefore, the government of Sorong, West Papua, has committed to working on the development in the department of religions.
Their efforts include supporting the infrastructure development for religious purposes (in this case, houses of worship), services in religious duties and activities, and sufficient financial support for religious and cultural leaders.
Meet Johny Kamuru, The Leader Who Serves
Johny Kamuru, the regent leader of Sorong, has been managing religious diversity in peace for three years so far. He started doing so in 2017. So far, he and his team have already helped build 193 houses of worship, like mosques, churches, viharas, and temples in rural areas and villages.
According to Kamuru, there are two (2) reasons he has been committed to helping the fellow Papuans in building their houses of worship:
- The residents had not been able to build the houses of worship by themselves. It was the government’s duty to help them.
- Religions play a vital role in all kinds of development. It is the base for moral, spiritual, and ethical foundations. It is beneficial to maintain the harmony of coexistence as a nation.
Kamuru believes that if religion is well-implemented in daily life, it can prepare the next generations to provide changes and improvement. Religion generally teaches people to work productively and not only for themselves. The implementation of religious teachings can only be seen when used for the greater good among each other.
On His Autobiography, “The Leader Who Serves”
On February 15, 2021, DR.Johny Kamuru, the regent leader of Sorong, launched his autobiography at Aimas Convention Centre (ACC). The book title is “Pemimpin yang Melayani” or “The Leader Who Serves”. The book launch was attended by the Mayor of Sorong, Lambert Jitmau, the Tambraw Regent Leader, Gabriel Assem, and Forkopimda (Forum Komunikasi Pimpinan Daerah or the Communication Forum for Regent Leaders).
The book talks about his life and his efforts in maintaining religious diversity in peace. Kamuru wrote that everything in life happened for a reason, whether it was luck or misfortune. All of them were parts of life that could make someone a better person every day.
Kamuru published the book at the age of 50. He stated that this book was part of his expression of gratitude for life. He dedicated the book to all the Papuans, including the young generation. The book is full of stories of his dreams, struggles, and love for Papua as his homeland – especially Sorong.
Taken from his book, Kamuru talked about the wisdom both his strict but just parents had shared with him. He said: “In your success, there is kindness from other people. I had felt that even when I was still a civil servant until I became the person I am today.”
Kamuru believed in doing all the good things from the heart. If you do everything from the heart, then you spread kindness everywhere. In turns, some people will be kind to you in return.
Everyone Needs To Take Part In Religious Tolerance
Johny Kamuru believed that the government had committed to maintaining and preserving religious tolerance among its citizens. However, it would not work without the involvement of the citizens as well.
In short, everyone needs to take part in religious tolerance.
Johny Kamuru said that religious diversity and tolerance had been intact for a very long time in Sorong. For example, when Christian and Catholic residents celebrate Christmas, their Muslim neighbours will help around as committees. It is the same thing when Muslim residents celebrate Eid Mubarak.
As the regent leader of Sorong, Kamuru has always set an inspiring example when it comes to religious tolerance. For instance, he does not only hang out with the citizens of Sorong who celebrate Christmas. During Ramadan, he also greets the Muslim locals and wishes them well on their fasting month.
It is the same thing when it comes to funerals. Whatever the deceased’s religious belief may have held, Kamuru also tries his best to attend their funeral. It is how he pays respect to everyone in Sorong.
Sorong: The Model City for Religious Tolerance
Kamuru’s effort in inspiring others for religious tolerance has been successful. On September 5, 2020, Malagusa Regent in Aimas District was chosen as the Village of Tolerance Awareness and had become the pilot project in West Papua.
Why Malagusa? This area was chosen because it has different worship houses standing close to each other in one place. Kamuru, just like many Indonesian’s longing for peace and harmony, believes that religious diversity should not be treated badly. It should be treated as part of what makes life more beautiful.
In short, DR. Johny Kamuru, the regent leader of Sorong, has always shown what it means to be kind to fellow humans – whatever their religion is. It is part of the social development in West Papua.