Building the Village of Moderation

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Since 2019, the Ministry of Religion (Kemenag) has been tasked as the leading sector in promoting religious moderation across various lines. Five sectors have been successfully targeted, including the education sector – Islamic Religious Higher Education (PTKI) through the ‘House of Religious Moderation (RMB)’ program, the youth sector (students, learners) through the ‘Ambassador of Moderation’ program, the ASN Kemenag sector and religious leaders through the ‘Religious Moderation Activists’ program, up to the mosque sector through the ‘Pioneer Mosque of Religious Moderation (MPMB)’ program.

Kemenag, through the Decree (SK) of the Director General of Islamic Community Guidance (Dirjen Bimas Islam) No. 137 of 2023, launched the latest program titled “Village of Religious Moderation”. Upon deeper examination, the presence of this program appears to be a refinement of the previous programs. This program reaches towards a more holistic direction and layers that have not yet been touched, that is, the general public who are at the grassroots level.

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In my opinion, this idea is important and a good step. Because, if viewed from a hierarchical perspective, the grassroots network occupies the most vital tier. Experts state that programs that fail to touch the grassroots level will only reach the elites (academics or figures), making them merely superficial, even considered a failure.

Moreover, current conflict points are also crystallizing at the grassroots level. In some places, there are still groups that disenfranchise others (read: minorities) from their right to express their beliefs. In 2022, the Setara Institute recorded at least 32 cases of religious freedom violations. While the latest findings (2023) show similar events continue to escalate. Just at the beginning of the year, in January and February, four acts of restriction and discrimination against minorities were detected, each occurring in Sintang (26/1), Sukabumi (2/2), Bogor (5/2), and Bandar Lampung (19/2).

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