There are about seventeen thousand of Islands and a thousand of tribes in Indonesia. Within those condition, Indonesia is a country full of diversity, including beliefs and religions. 

The government of Indonesia has recognized six religions officially in their law. They are Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism.

However, this is not mean those six religions are the only religions that exist in this country. There are many other religions and beliefs that exist in Indonesia.  One of them is the beliefs that has existed since the past among our ancestors. Moreover, they grow together with the growth of this country. Nevertheless, they are now forgotten by many people. Nowadays, there are only minority of people who follow these beliefs.

Therefore, those who follow these beliefs sometimes being discriminated and even being hurt. Who are they? The answer is the followers of local beliefs in Indonesia.

Then, why should you care about them?

Let us bring back your memory. Have you ever told your problem with your friend or other people and you found that you are happier after doing that? If so, it is normal because people like to be heard. The same case with the follower of local beliefs. They also want to be heard.

Back to topic, local beliefs or also known as traditional belief of Indonesia is a beliefs that originated from Indonesia. This beliefs even might have already existed before foreign religion comes to this country. According to Ministry of Education and Cultures, there are about a hundred of different local beliefs that have organizations at the national level in this country. They are Kejawen, Sunda Wiwitan, Parmalim, Kaharingan, Marapu, and many more.

What is the problem they face?

These beliefs spread across the vast Indonesian archipelago. As the follower of the local belief adhere to ancient beliefs, many of them still keep the culture that was taught to them. Hence, most of them live in simplicity in a village or in a forest. This condition sometimes make them hard to survive in life.

The reason simply because there are many selfish people that like to damage the forest where they live. Forest is not only the place where numerous of plants and animals live. Otherwise, sometimes people also live there. Forest is where they might get food to eat or where they have place for sleep. Therefore, damaging the forest can means damaging their home.

What do you feel if your home is damaged by someone? What you feel is what the follower of local beliefs and other people live in a forest that often being damage under the egoism of people.

Apart from that, the follower of local belief sometimes being discriminated by other people. It is a common thing that people usually think that something different with their views as a weird thing. Correspondingly, the follower of local belief usually treated differently by other people.

For example, in the eye of many people, they often seen as people who perform dark rituals. Many of the followers of local beliefs said that it is hard for them to pray with their community because of the pressure of their neighborhood.

Besides, there are many other example of discrimination towards them, such as by calling them as an adherents to atheism or even called as a supporter of Indonesian Communist Party, which is forbidden in Indonesia.

In the same way as above, the follower of local belief sometimes get unofficial discrimination that make them face some difficulties to get their right as Indonesian. For example, it is difficult for them to get marriage licenses, identity card, or access to public services. Moreover, they usually need more effort to get a job because of their background as the follower of local beliefs.

Nevertheless, there is a positive development about this case. Indonesia’s constitutional court has made a decision that ease the follower of local belief to fill their identity card according to their belief. However, there are still many discrimination issue towards them.

Then, what can you do? There are a plethora of possibilities of what your future will be. One day, if you meet the follower of local beliefs, you should not ridicule or do any form of discrimination to them. You can imagine a condition where you live as a part of minority group. Then, what is your feeling when people treat you badly because you are only a part of minority group?

We might born in different place and live with different beliefs. However, we should remember that in terms of humanity, we are all family.