Improving Papua with Faith – There is an opinion that the solution to social problems in Papua is welfare. In my opinion, not exactly like that. I came to this conclusion after the end of January 2022 when I visited Papua Province, chatted with the people, and had discussions with some of its leaders.

The issue of economic equity is actually only one of the many variables causing the social problems in Papua. The fact I see, some indigenous Papuans are already living in prosperity. Every month in Mimika Regency, for example, one family head gets compensation of Rp. 3 million to Rp. 5 million.

As another example, the transportation vehicles at Merauke and Nabire Terminals, if I pay attention, are at the lowest with the Inova brand. The average locals use Pajero, Fortuner, or other elite cars.

Then what is a more basic solution than economic equality? I agree with Ustadz Mualimin Amin, a Chairman of the Hidayatullah Papua Regional Management Board (DPW). For him, the maintaining of faith is a solution to problems in Papua. Faith that can generate awareness in a person have a more advanced civilization. This should be a priority.

“Faith makes people more civilized. If the solution is well-being, it only encourages the Papuan people to be more consumptive. Humans will not be satisfied with material things if welfare is material,” said Muallimin.

The development of public facilities in Papua so far has made the province at the eastern end of Indonesia quite advanced. Furthermore, development priorities need to be directed to remote areas that are difficult to reach by transportation.

As for the people in areas that have begun to progress, it is time to raise awareness about faith. The way is by means of education.

So far, there has been a dichotomy between education and faith. Whereas the essence of education is to grow the faith of students, namely how to introduce God as the Essence that must be worshiped, a place of worship and dependence.

A similar opinion was expressed by Ustadz Syakir, a Head of the Education Department of Main Campus of Hidayatullah Timika. As stated by him, one of the keys to accelerating development in Papua is the education program.

So far, said Syakir, indigenous Papuans have been left behind because they do not understand and know about life, work, and the social order of society. As a result, they tend to be inferior, even hateful, to immigrants. They view the immigrants as invaders.

On the other hand, according to Syakir, the inadequate level of education causes people to be easily provoked by parties with certain interests.

One indication of the low level of education of some indigenous Papuans can be seen when they take the compensation funds in the bank. They still use thumbprints. This is because they do not know how to read, write, count, and sign.

However, the education that must be prioritized here is not just Calistung knowledge (reading, writing and counting) even though it is important as a basic science. The education that is more prioritized is education that is able to lead students to have faith.

So far, the transformation of knowledge and values ​​through the world of education is often dry from the values ​​of faith. Education is only a transformation of knowledge for the consumption of the brain, it does not reach the heart with the values ​​of faith. It is natural that the product of such education is in the form of undirected students.

Likewise, faith is not just a doctrine, but the growth of awareness and belief in the heart, actualized in word and deed. So that faith growth can be done gradually and structured through the education system.

Let us learn from the history of the Prophet bringing Islam and embedding faith in Arab society. Those who were initially ignorant and stubborn, because of the guidance of revelation, were successfully softened by the Messenger of Allah. They became great, brave, strong and advanced civilized men.

No matter how hard a person is, if he gets the guidance of faith, his/her heart to be soft and his/her positive potential to come out, so that a better civilization to be awakened.

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