Home News Religious Affairs Bureau opens to all faiths in Indonesia

Religious Affairs Bureau opens to all faiths in Indonesia

The Office for Religious Affairs (Kantor Urusan Agama, Kua) in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, is expanding its “competencies” from an “interreligious” perspective by asserting its authority not only over Muslims, as in the past, but for all faiths. 

This is what the Minister for Religious Affairs Yaqut Cholil Qoumas announced on February 24, explaining that the Kua will not only address the faithful of Islam but extend its authority “to all Indonesian citizens”. 

“We all agree in principle for a radical change in the (legal) status of the office,” said Qoumas, during the national meeting with the staff of the ministry’s General Directorate of Muslim Orientation.

The ministry’s decision is not surprising, given that the head of the ministry comes from the most moderate Islamic organization in the country, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). 

Before being appointed minister during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s second term, Quomas was the head of the NU’s paramilitary wing, better known as Banser. 

The minister also said that Kua will open its doors to proceed with the wedding ceremony to any Indonesian citizen, regardless of their faith, and not just Muslims as in the past. 

For the majority of Indonesians, Kua would only guarantee its services to Muslim couples about to get married, with the official registration of the act or confirmation of the divorce. But from today things are changing: “The Kua – explains the minister – will also be the place where all couples will be able to register their wedding certificates” regardless of their faith.

- Newsletter -

Marriage in Indonesia is considered valid and legally correct only if it is celebrated in a religious institution. For Christians and Catholics, it means that the act must take place only and exclusively in church, in front of a pastor or priest. 

After the ceremony, the bride and groom must go to the so-called Civil Registration Office to formalize their relationship. To date, it is not clear whether the functions of the civil office and the Kua will overlap or not. 

Addressing these key issues, Minister Qoumas says that all data recorded by both agencies should be synchronized. And valid. 

The minister then declared that the Kua function hall should be open and without restrictions to non-Muslim religious congregations that do not yet have places of worship. 

The director general of the Ministry for Muslim Guidance, Kamaruddin Amin, added that from this year the Religious Affairs office will officially be a service aimed “at all Indonesians”. 

After all, it already existed before independence, in 1945, when the Dutch colonial era established the so-called Agency for Indigenous Peoples, later transformed by the Japanese into the Religious Office for Muslims.

This article was first published by AsiaNews

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support Our Mission

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.