Landmark ruling for religions

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Balinese Hindus arrive for prayers to celebrate the religous festival Galungan at the Jagat Natha temple in Denpasar on Indonesia's Bali island. AFP

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s Constitutional Court on Tuesday affirmed the rights of devotees of faiths outside the country’s officially recognised religions, in a move activists welcomed as a “new chapter for religious freedom”. Against
a backdrop of rising intolerance towards minorities in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, the court said Indonesians would not be required to identify as either Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian on their national ID cards. Bonar Tigor Naipospos from the Setara Institute, a group that advocates for religious harmony, said Indonesians who refused to embrace one of the regulated religions on their ID cards had limited access to education, restricted employment opportunities and were denied legal marriage. The court recommended that a seventh, catch-all category be created – “Believers of the Faith” – for ID cards.

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