TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Semarang Legal Aid (LBH) argues that Central Java’s self-proclaimed narrative of being a tolerant region is far from being accurate as the legal aid claims the region’s decision-making does not facilitate policies to solve cases of intolerance.
“The narrative that Central Java is tolerant is not followed-up by the administration’s policy-making to solve cases related to [tolerance],” said LBH Semarang’s Director Zainal Arifin on Saturday, February 22.
According to Arifin, his organization recorded three cases where places of worship were being rejected early in 2020. He further explains that the rejection comes mainly from intolerant groups force-pressuring regional administrations to revoke the legally-issued construction permits of places of worship.
He even deemed this behavior from intolerant groups as a “classic pattern” whenever a rejection of places of worship arises. LBH Semarang gave three examples that happened within the area of Semarang; the rejection against the Injil Church located in Jepara Regency; the dismissal against Ahmadiyah congregates in the Banjarnegara Regency; and the Indonesia Baptist Church of Tlogosari in Semarang City.
Chairperson of Central Java’s Religious Harmony Forum, Taslim Sahlan, acknowledges such rejections upon the construction of places of worship but denies that the cases have gone unsolved.
“Within the context of Central Java, it is untrue. But talking about the cases, they do exist,” said Taslim who maintains that the forum regularly issues recommendations for the construction of places of worships from mosques, churches, temples and many more.
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