|Mr. Lukman Hakim Saifuddin,|
Newly appointed Religious Affairs Minister of Indonesia
The new religious affairs minister has indicated that the Baha’i religion should be the seventh religion to be recognized by Indonesia as an official faith.
Baha’ism was banned in Indonesia from 1962 until former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid lifted the ban in 2000.
Newly appointed Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said that Baha’i followers were scattered across the country and there are 220 in Banyuwangi, 100 in Jakarta, 100 in Medan, 98 in Surabaya, 80 in Palopo, 50 in Bandung and 30 in Malang.
But according to the Baha’i secretariat in Indonesia, Mr. Rais :
“There are thousands of Baha’i followers in Indonesia, but there is no exact number,” (as told to the Jakarta Globe on Friday, 25th July 2014).
Lecturer at the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies at the Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Zainal Abidin Bagir, said Lukman’s acknowledgement of Baha’i would mean that it would no longer be deemed blasphemous.
Separately, Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Nasaruddin Umar refused to comment on whether the government would recognize Baha’i as a religion in the near future.
Home Minister, Gamawan Fauzi said that although the two ministries were in discussion his ministry still acknowledged only the six religions.