Law Review: Religious Freedom in Indonesia Before and after Constitutional Amendments

Mohamad Mova Al ‘Afghani, Religious Freedom in Indonesia Before and after Constitutional Amendments (April 10, 2010). CRITICAL THINKERS FOR ISLAMIC REFORM, Brainbow Press, 2009. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1587256

The Indonesian Constitution is very unique in terms of its relation between religion and the state. It is stated there that that the state is based “…on the belief in the One and Supreme God” but at the same time, it never explicitly mentioned the name of any established religion in the world. Historical interpretation into the constitutional drafting process and revelation from the founding fathers on their understanding of ‘God’ and religion reveals that the Constitution is neutral with respect to religions. However, the Constitution does prefer a theistic worldview over the non theist. The consequences for this is that the state may provide financial and other supports to the followers of religions (provide for positive discrimination) but must not interfere with the freedom of followers of any other worldviews in professing their beliefs. Recent amendment to the Constitution reinforces this neutral stance. This would have a significant impact on the constitutionality of blasphemy laws.