For the first time, the Minister of Religion Gives a Speech on the Day of the Gospel of the Papua Land – The celebration of thanksgiving for the 167th year of the Gospel Preaching Day (HPI), or what is often called the Bible has entered the Land of Papua.

At that moment, for the first time, the Minister of Religion Yaqut Cholil Qoumas gave a speech during a 5-minute video. The activity was enthusiastically welcomed by residents, and was attended by 3000 people.

In his virtual remarks, Minister of Religion Yaqut Cholil Qoumas said HPI in Papua is commemorated every February 5 and has become a special holiday in Papua Province.

HPI is celebrated to commemorate the entrance of 2 German missionaries, namely Otto and Geisler, who first arrived on Mansinam Island, West Papua on February 5, 1855, to spread Christian teachings.

This event marked the beginning of the transformation in the land of Papua, formerly known as New Guinea which was still covered in darkness in all aspects, to a new civilization thanks to the development carried out by the church and government.

“Papua is actually a peaceful land, even though the majority of Papuans are Christians, but the life of inter-religious harmony in the easternmost province of the unitary Republic of Indonesia is maintained in harmony in the life of society, nation and state,” he said.

As stated by him, the inter-religious harmony in Papua has been well established, because each individual prioritizes togetherness and respects diversities in belief.

The situation and condition of the Papuan people who uphold the spirit of tolerance in various lives. “We need to maintain this situation continually because this is a big capital in building a peaceful, independent and just Papua,” he added.

Furthermore, Cholil Qoumas explained that in line with religious moderation echoed by the current government, it continues to encourage religious moderation as a step to foster tolerance in social life. So that tri-religious harmony, namely internal religious harmony, inter-religious harmony and harmony between religious communities and the government can be realized.

“For this reason, the main values ​​that form the foundation of tolerance are expected to grow from religions through their teachings and practices,” he said.

“Love your neighbor as yourself”. This is a command from Jesus the great teacher. Because of that, he hopes, this teaching can be implemented and put into practice that those who are not your brothers in faith are your brothers in humanity.

In addition, as the Minister of Religion, I hope that Christians in Papua will remain and continue to be a role models in tolerance and humanity, and not be trapped in excessive fanaticism, so that what is our common goal can be realized, namely religion as a way to achieve God’s pleasure in a life of peace and harmony.

“Finally, the momentum of the 167-year evangelism day in Papua is interpreted as the awakening of Papua, towards a peaceful Papua, Independent, Prosperous and just and remains united in the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia,” explained Cholil Qoumas.

Responding to this, the Head of the Union of Papuan Churches (PGGP) Rev. Hizkia Rollo said the view of the Minister of Religion was remarkable, related to togetherness and harmony.

“If this togetherness and harmony are maintained well, all development processes in Papua will proceed well. Without these two things, the development process on this land will not run well, explained Hezkia.

For this reason, the hope of the Minister of Religion earlier, it will be a unity for us to find common ground, where we collaborate with the government in which there are religious figures, to build this land towards a better Papua.

Meanwhile, Rev. Dorman Wandikbo told the truth that the Papuan people love peace and to this day the Gospel has entered Papua until it has reached 167 years, Papua has not experienced any religious conflicts.

“For this reason, Indonesia must learn from us, Papuans, how to maintain religious tolerance on this land,” he said.

In line with that, the Chairperson of the 167th HPI Committee, who is also the Chairperson of the Papuan DPR, Jhony Banua Rouw said it was related to what was conveyed by the Minister of Religion previously. That the situation and condition of the Papuan people who uphold the spirit of tolerance in various lives needs to be maintained because this is a big capital in building a peaceful Papua, Independent, Prosperous and just.

“This is what we want to convey that other regions must follow our example in Papua, because so far, tolerance for religious life and togetherness has been maintained,” said Banua Rouw.

“In other places, there are many who prohibit one religion from worshiping and so on. In Papua the majority are Christians, but there are many mosques standing here and without any restrictions anywhere,” he continued.

Even during Eid, Christian youths look after Muslims who worship, on the other hand, at Christmas, Muslim youths are involved in maintaining peace during worship.

Meanwhile, Reverend James Wambrauw also appreciated the Minister who gave a speech and hoped it would happen every year.

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