Image supplied by the author. © 2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Religious minorities in Indonesia face discriminiation

Minoritas Terancam Pasal Penodaan Agama, Intimidasi, dan Pengabaian Negara

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Last September, I drove for four hours from Jakarta to a small town in western Java, staying one night in a Javanese-styled hotel at the foot of Mt. Ciremai, a 3,000-meter volcano on Java. When I got to Cisantana, I journeyed down a stone path, looking for the Mother Mary shrine. It was a welcome surprise to see this Catholic shrine, equipped with a tropical version of the Via Dolorosa—the route believed to have been taken by Jesus through Jerusalem to Calvary—and supported by electricity coming from a nearby Islamic boarding school.

The presence of such a shrine was all the more surprising in West Java, one of Indonesia’s most conservative Muslim provinces, where attacks against Christians, Ahmadis, and other religious minorities frequently make headlines in local news. Attacks against women’s rights, private gay parties, and transgender crowds are not uncommon.

I continued walking past avocado farms, a banana plantation, and cornfields and finally came upon an open space where a handful of Sundanese women and men were working to construct a tomb.

They were very pleasant. “It’s a quiet day today,” an elderly man said to me. They were taking a break and welcomed me to sit in their bamboo hut with a fire stove.

A woman showed me phone videos of the work they did with more than 100 volunteers, who used wooden poles and bamboo to bring several huge stones from a nearby river to this spot, which is inaccessible by road. They called the tomb “Batu Satangtung” or the “Human Stone,” intended for their elderly religious leader and his wife.

I imagined the makers of Stonehenge might have used similar methods two or three millennia ago in England.

The Sundanese people are from West Java, a province of about 40 million. They are the second largest ethnic group in Indonesia, after the neighbouring Javanese. The volunteers I met are not only Sundanese but of the ethnic-religious group Sunda Wiwitan. The name literally means “early Sunda” or “real Sunda.” Its practitioners assert that Sunda Wiwitan has been part of the Sundanese way of life since before the arrival of Hinduism and Islam.

Why were they building the tomb here? Ela Romlah, the woman with the videos, told me that in 1937 and 1938, when Mt. Ciremai was expected to erupt, Pangeran Madrais—then the leader of this group—and his followers climbed the mountain, carrying a set of gamelan instruments. He and hundreds of his musicians played the gamelan on the mountain for months. They believed their music and prayer stopped the eruption. “They then set up a camp at the foot of the mountain. It was here in Curug Goong.”

Madrais was an inspirational cleric, interpreting old Sundanese and Javanese beliefs. He helped establish the community in 1925.

The Sunda Wiwitan tomb site. Image supplied by the author. ©2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

The Dutch colonial officials in charge at the time were not amused to see this kind of independent behaviour. They tried to prevent hundreds of Sundanese people from staying at Curug Goong. But they said nothing when Mt. Ciremai calmed down.

In August 1945, at the end of World War II, Indonesia’s independence leaders adopted a constitution that vowed to protect all Indonesian citizens equally. But they also reached a political compromise with conservative Muslims, including Wahid Hasjim, the chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama. The agreement, designed to avoid setting up an Islamic state, established the Ministry of Religious Affairs to be “the bridge” between Muslims and the state. The compromise was called Pancasila.

In Garut, about four hours’ drive from Curug Goong, Islamist militants were not satisfied with this and declared the Darul Islam (Islamic State) movement in August 1949, vowing to implement their version of Sharia in Indonesia. From 1950 to 1958, Darul Islam conducted a failed guerrilla campaign in West Java that nonetheless attracted some popular support. They attacked not only the Indonesian military but also religious minorities.

In response, Wahid Hasjim, the minister of religious affairs, adopted a 1952 decree to differentiate between “kepercayaan” (faith) and “agama” (religion). In Indonesian vocabulary, “aliran kepercayaan” is officially used to cover multiple minor religions and spiritual movements. Hasjim decreed that aliran kepercayaan” are “dogmatic ideas, intertwined with the living customs of various ethnic groups, especially among those who are still underdeveloped, whose main beliefs are the customs of their ancestors throughout the ages.”

Meanwhile, “agama” was defined according to monotheistic understandings. If a community is to be recognised as “religious,” it must adhere to “an internationally recognised monotheistic creed; taught by a prophet through the scriptures.” In this way the decree discriminates against non-monotheistic religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Bahaism, Zoroastrianism and hundreds of local religions and spiritual movements in Indonesia.

In West Java, the Sunda Wiwitan people faced two serious challenges: the Darul Islam militants, who repeatedly intimidated and attacked them, and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which actively tried to align “underdeveloped religions” such as theirs with Christianity or Islam.

In 1954, Darul Islam militants attacked the Sunda Wiwitan base in Kuningan. “They managed to burn our paseban (communal spaces) including the kitchen and the garages but fortunately not the main hall,” she said. “They forced our members to convert to Islam,” said Dewi Kanti, a great granddaughter of Madrais.

Similar intimidation and violence took place in neighbouring regencies Tasikmalaya, Banjar, and Garut. Dewi’s grandfather, Pangeran Tedja Buwana, who succeeded Madrais, fled Kuningan to Bandung.

Darul Islam also sent militants into Jakarta. On November 30, 1957, President Sukarno attended a school function at which a Darul Islam militant threw a grenade. Sukarno was unharmed, but six schoolchildren died.

Even after Darul Islam had been militarily defeated, eight Darul Islam militants mingled with a Muslim congregation during a prayer service inside the State Palace on May 14, 1962. They fired shots at Sukarno but missed, hitting one of his bodyguards and a Muslim scholar instead.

Muslim conservatives continued their opposition to smaller religions and spiritual movements. To placate hardliners, Sukarno banned the Indonesian Freemasons (Vrijmetselaren-Loge) along with six so-called “affiliates,” without providing evidence of any illegal links: the Bahai Indonesia organisation, the Divine Life Society, the Moral Rearmament Movement, the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, the Rotary Club and the Democracy League, a non-religious organisation considered to be critical of Sukarno. The Rotary Club was accused of being a Zionist group; this was essentially  a conspiracy theory intended to connect the Freemasons to the six organisations.

In June 1964, the Kuningan authorities declared Sunda Wiwitan marriages illegal. The Kuningan prosecutor’s office later detained nine believers—a priest and eight young grooms who married in Sundanese Wiwitan rituals—for several months.

A portrait of Sunda Wiwitan faith leader, Prince Tedja Buwana. © 2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Anticipating increased hostilities, Tedja Buwana, who had returned from Bandung, left the Sunda Wiwitan faith, joined the Catholic church and used their paseban as a church. His move prompted 5,000 Sunda Wiwitan believers to convert to Catholicism, according to a researcher, Cornelius Iman Sukmana, himself a Catholic in Kuningan, who wrote a book about the Sunda Wiwitan and the Catholic church.

“It was an important decision. My grandfather saved thousands of our members from accusations of atheism,” said Dewi Kanti, referring to massacres of the communists between 1965 and 1969. “We can’t imagine what would have happened if he didn’t do it.”

Decades later, when the situation finally calmed down, many of these Sunda Wiwitan people, including Dewi Kanti, openly, but not offficially, re-converted to Sunda Wiwitan. Many who converted away from Christianity still go to Sunday mass and wear a cross around their necks. But inside their pockets, they also have Sunda Wiwitan pendants (a mountain, an eagle and two snakes).

“It is common in Kuningan to meet a single family with several religions,” said a vendor near the shrine.

As I walked down from the tomb, I wondered if these conversions and re-conversions prove that religious identity is not a zero-sum game. Identity is somehow imagined like a container with a fixed volume; if you have more of one identity, you have less of another. The Sunda Wiwitan people showed me that they could expand the container and have multiple identities. Thinking of it from this perspective, it is no surprise that I found a tropical Via Dolorosa and an Islamic boarding school near the tomb construction.

The 1965 Blasphemy Law

In downtown Kuningan, I drove to the paseban area, looking at the beautiful wooden hall and sipping a smooth ginger-lemon tea while chatting with Okky Satrio Djati, a Catholic Javanese, who had married the Sunda Wiwitan leader Dewi Kanti almost two decades earlier.

Djati and I used to work together in a newsroom during the Suharto era, publishing online samizdat and managing a mobile internet server. He went to Kuningan in 1998 when President Suharto was facing the mass protests at the height of the Asian economic crisis and helped hide political activists fleeing trouble.

Djati is now a Sunda Wiwitan member, speaking Sundanese, burning incense and sometimes performing midnight prayers in a nearby mountain. “He seems to be more Sundanese than me,” said Kanti, with a giggle.

Djati helps his wife deal with the discrimination that many Sunda Wiwitan members face. “My husband chose Catholicism as his official religion,” Kanti said. “But he practices Kejawen faith. If we insisted on marrying with our own (real) religions, we wouldn’t have birth certificates for our children, or at least, not with my husband’s name on them.”

Under Indonesia’s legal system, an ethnic believer cannot put their kepercayaan on the agama column of their national ID cards and thus cannot legally marry unless they change their kepercayaan to a recognised religion. In these cases, they leave a blank space in the religion column of the card and the civil registration office does not recognise paternity because the couples are not officially married.

The Sunda Wiwitan “paseban” (house of worship) in Kuningan, West Java, was also used as a Catholic church. © 2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Problems for religious minorities escalated in January 1965 when President Sukarno issued a decree that prohibited people from being hostile toward religions or committing blasphemy, which is defined as “abuse” and “desecration” of a religion. Sukarno decreed that the government would steer “mystical sects … toward a healthy way of thinking and believing in the One and Only God.” The decree, which gave official approval only to Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism, was immediately incorporated into the Criminal Code as article 156(a), with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. This has had disastrous effects until the present.

After deposing Sukarno, Suharto and his regime enforced the 1952 decree, which also requires a religion to have a holy book, leading to many bizarre stories of “religious alignment.” In Kalimantan, Dayak tribal leaders created the Panaturan –a collection of Dayak ancestral wisdom compiled into a single “holy book.” This required the creation of a clergy, so Dayak priests were trained. Religious rituals once held in fields and homes were moved into new worship halls called Balai Basarah. But most importantly, Kaharingan religious leaders had to choose a permitted religion to align with. They chose Hinduism, and thus became “Kaharingan Hindu.” But do not ask them about Ganesh or karma!

President Suharto’s wrote about his own Javanese Kejawen faith and Islam in his 1989 authorised biography. He described the syncretism common among the Javanese, conducting his Islamic prayers and celebrating Islamic holidays while also meditating in the sacred places of the Javanese traditions when he wanted to make major decision.

On September 7, 1974, three months before the East Timor invasion, Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam met Suharto in a villa in Mt. Dieng, Java Island, where Suharto was meditating in the Semar Cave, which is named after a mythical Javanese character with whom Suharto identified. That cave is still regarded as sacred. When I visited in 2019 it was locked—the villa is now a museum where photos of the Suharto-Whitlam meeting are displayed. Showing a more open mind towards religious minorities, in 1978, Suharto created a directorate within the Ministry of Education and Culture to service these local religions, telling the Indonesian parliament, “These kepercayaan are part of our national tradition, and need not to be opposed to agama.”

The site of the Soeharto Whitlam meeting is now a museum. Image supplied by the author. Image supplied by the author. ©2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Yet even under a strongman, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, technically in charge of religions, resisted and maintained its opposition to local religions. They have refused to include kepercayaan within their domain and have promoted the inclusion of these believers into monotheistic realms. One reason Muslim groups refuse to recognise kepercayaan is their concern that the percentage of Muslims (88 percent) in Indonesia may decline, threatening their majority status.

In Kuningan, the new atmosphere under Suharto prompted the Sunda Wiwitan to re-convert to their native faith. Some of them legally left the Catholic church. Some maintain the practice of two religions, living with multiple identities. In 1982, the faith registered with the Ministry of Education and Culture’s directorate, seeking government services along with President Suharto’s accommodation of ethnic believers.

During the weekend I spent talking with Kanti, Djati and other Sunda Wiwitan believers, young and old, women and men, I witnessed the pain of the discrimination they faced and the cost of religious intolerance to people full of tolerance themselves.

It is fascinating to see a small religion resisting the power of the state. While Suharto took some important steps to protect religious freedom, it would have been better still if he had shown the moral courage to rescind the blasphemy law and the idiosyncratic and dangerous definition of religion from the Sukarno era. Sadly, Suharto’s successors have also failed to find the necessary political will.

Post-Suharto Discrimination

Jarwan is the only Sundanese man who stays overnight to guard the Sunda Wiwitan tomb in Curug Goong. He is a well-built man, keeping a motorcycle and several guard dogs in the bamboo hut.

“Someone has to stay here,” he said. “I am the youngest of the elders.”

In July 2020, the Kuningan government sealed off the tomb, declaring that the Sunda Wiwitan group had no permit to build “a monument.” Dozens of Sunni Muslim militants accompanied government officials to seal the tomb, saying that “the monument” is idolatrous.

Sunda Wiwitan members argue that the construction is not a “monument” but rather a “tomb” prepared for two of their elders, Dewi Kanti’s parents, Pangeran Djati Kusumah, and Emalia Wigarningsih. “It’s built on their own land. There is no regulation here to ban anyone to have cemeteries on our own land,” Djati said.

This is not an unfamiliar scene in many Muslim-majority provinces in Indonesia. Rights monitors have recorded hundreds of incidents like this involving Sunni militant groups, whose thuggish harassment and assaults on houses of worship and members of religious minorities have become increasingly aggressive. Those targeted include Ahmadis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. To give just one grisly example, on May 13-14, 2018, Islamist suicide bombers  detonated explosives at three Christian churches in Surabaya. The bombings killed at least 12 and wounded at least 50 people. Thirteen suicide bombers also died.

In 2006 the government introduced regulations for building permits for houses of worship, prompting Muslim protesters to demand the closure of “illegal churches.” Hundreds of churches were closed. Some Christian congregations won lawsuits allowing them to build, but local governments simply ignored  court rulings. GKI Yasmin Protestant Church in Bogor was shut down in 2008. The congregation won the case at the Supreme Court in 2010 and then-President Yudhoyono asked the local government to reopen the church, but the city government defied the orders, without consequence.

By contrast, in 2010 the Religious Affairs Ministry listed 243,199 mosques throughout Indonesia, around 78 percent of all houses of worship. Recently an ongoing government census using drones and photography has registered at least 554,152 mosques, suggesting that the number of mosques has more than doubled in a decade.

The hardline Islamist preacher, Rizieq Shihab, has just returned to Indonesia from self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia. He then called on his supporters “to behead blasphemers;” on November 27 an Islamist group attacked a village in Sigi, Sulawesi island, beheading a Salvation Army elder and three of his relatives. The attackers also burned a Salvation Army church and six other Christian-owned houses. No action has been taken against Rizieq for inciting violence, although police arrested him for breaking coronavirus restrictions.

Threats and speeches that incite violence are facilitated by Indonesia’s discriminatory laws and regulations. They give local majority religious populations significant leverage over religious minority communities. Compounding this, institutions including the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem) under the Attorney General’s Office, the Religious Harmony Forum, and the semi-official Indonesian Ulema Council have issued decrees and fatwas (religious rulings) against members of religious minorities, and frequently press for the prosecution of “blasphemers.”

Recent targets of the blasphemy law include three former leaders of the Gafatar religious community, prosecuted following the violent, forced eviction in 2016 of more than 7,000 members of the group from their farms on Kalimantan. A more prominent target was former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Purnama, sentenced to a two-year prison term for blasphemy in a politically motivated case in May 2017. His longtime friend and ally, President Joko Widodo, simply stood by, afraid of the wrath of radical conservatives.

Violence against religious minorities and government failures to take decisive action negate guarantees of religious freedom in the Indonesian constitution and international law, including core international human rights conventions ratified by Indonesia. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia acceded to in 2005, provides that “persons belonging to…minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion.”

Throughout there have been occasional and modest examples of progress. The Rotary Club began operating again in 1970 after Sukarno died. In 2000, President Abdurrahman Wahid, the eldest son of Hasjim Wahid, cancelled President Sukarno’s 1962 decree banning the Freemasons and alleged associate organisations. After more than a dozen members were detained under the law during the New Order, the Bahai community has since been able to revive their network; however, they have been denied permission to build a temple so they continue to worship in private homes.

A major reform took place in 2006 when President Yudhoyono signed the Population Administrative Law, which no longer requires kepercayaan believers to convert to official religions to be listed on ID cards. But many civil servants are still not aware of or ignore the law, so religious minorities face problems if they refuse to choose one of the six religions that these officials recognise. “They simply say you’re a godless woman if you want to keep the [religion] column blank,” said Kanti, whose ID card has a blank space after the word agama.

In Kuningan, Indonesia’s Ombudsman finally helped mediate the dispute between the Sunda Wiwitan community and the local government, prompting the local authorities to lift the seal on the site and permitting the group to continue constructing the tomb.

The Ombudsman’s Office also helped the Dayak Kaharingan, pressuring several local governments to drop decades of discrimination. Ombudsman Ahmad Suaedy said in a webinar: “The key issue is that they [local religious groups] should get public service. The religious minorities should take courage to report their difficulties.”

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The Indonesian government's approach to Islamic outliers simultanesously marks them as dangerous and fails to protect the vulnerable from harm

In 2017, four Indonesian citizens petitioned the Constitutional Court, demanding the right to have their religions listed on their ID cards. They represented four Indigenous religions including the Marapu  (Sumba ), the Sapto Darmo (Java ), and the Parmalim and the Ugamo Bangsa Batak (Sumatra). On November 7, 2017, the court ruled in their favour.

But the Ulama Council objected to the decision. The Ministry of Home Affairs, which issues and manages ID cards, has since failed to implement the court decision. The Ulama Council argued that the ruling “hurts the feeling of the Islamic ummah,” but it is not clear on what legal grounds the ministry refuses to do its duty.

Separately, the Constitutional Court rejected three petitions to revoke the blasphemy law between 2009 and 2018, declaring that religious freedom was subject to certain limitations to preserve public order (former President Abdurrahman Wahid joined the lawsuit in 2009). Those limitations, the court stated in its 2010 decision, were to be defined by “religious scholars,” thereby outsourcing the rights of minorities to unelected members of the majority religion.

There are more than 180 ethnic-religious communities spanning from Sumatra to the smaller islands in eastern Indonesia. They are estimated to encompass around 10 to 12 million people, although the 2010 census recorded only 299,617 people or 0.13 percent of Indonesians claiming to be exclusively ethnic believers. It is still hard and even dangerous to publicly declare one’s religion in Indonesia.

Indeed, it is gruelling work to battle against both government officials and the Sunni ulama. Spineless politicians, feckless government bureaucrats, and narrow-minded ulama officials hamper the development of democracy and human rights in Indonesia.

Jarwan in Curug Goong knows very well that he cannot rely on the government or anyone else to protect the tomb he stands guard over. “We have seen this mistreatment and intimidation for decades. We must guard our sacred places ourselves.

• • • • • • • •

September lalu, saya naik mobil selama empat jam dari Jakarta ke Kuningan, sebuah kota kecil di Jawa Barat, istirahat semalam di sebuah hotel bergaya Jawa di kaki gunung Ciremai. Saat tiba di Cisantana, saya jalan kaki, menyusuri jalan batu, menuju Gua Maria Sawer Rahmat. Situs ini dilengkapi Jalan Salib—rute yang dipercaya ditempuh Yesus sambil memikul salib dari Yerusalem ke Bukit Golgota. Penerangan di situs ini didukung jaringan listrik dari sebuah pesantren. Ini kejutan yang menyenangkan.

Gua Maria ini berada di Jawa Barat, salah satu provinsi Muslim konservatif di Indonesia, di mana serangan-serangan terhadap orang Kristen, Ahmadiyah, dan agama-agama minoritas lain kerap menjadi berita lokal. Tak jarang pula terjadi serangan terhadap hak-hak perempuan, pesta-pesta privat komunitas gay, dan kerumunan transpuan.

Saya terus berjalan melewati kebun alpukat, pohon pisang, ladang jagung, dan akhirnya tiba di sebuah tanah terbuka. Beberapa lelaki dan perempuan Sunda sedang membangun sebuah makam.

Mereka ramah sekali. “Sepi mah hari ini,” kata seorang lelaki tua pada saya. Mereka sedang beristirahat dan mengajak saya duduk dan makan dalam pondok bambu. Ada tungku tanah serta ubi rebus, jagung rebus, dan air panas.

Seorang perempuan memperlihatkan video di ponselnya kepada saya: bersama lebih dari 100 relawan, mereka mengangkut dan mengangkat batu-batu raksasa dari sebuah sungai dekat situ ke tanah lapang dengan galah-galah kayu dan bambu. Hanya ada jalan setapak. Mereka menyebut makam itu “Batu Satangtung” atau “Batu Setinggi Orang,” peristirahatan terakhir bagi sesepuh mereka dan istrinya.

Saya membayangkan, satu atau dua ribu tahun lalu, orang-orang di Inggris mungkin membuat Stonehenge dengan cara serupa.

Orang Sunda berasal dari Jawa Barat, sebuah provinsi berpenduduk sekitar 40 juta jiwa. Mereka adalah suku terbesar kedua di Indonesia, setelah etnis Jawa. Para relawan tersebut etnis Sunda, juga memeluk agama Sunda Wiwitan. Artinya, “Sunda tua” atau “Sunda asli.” Para pemeluknya meyakini, Sunda Wiwitan jadi jalan hidup warga Sunda sebelum kedatangan Hindu dan Islam.

Kenapa mereka membangun makam di tanah lapang ini? Ela Romlah, perempuan yang menunjukkan video bilang bahwa pada 1937-38 Gunung Ciremai diperkirakan akan meletus. Tokoh Sunda Wiwitan waktu itu, Pangeran Madrais, beserta para pengikutnya mendaki gunung, membawa seperangkat gamelan dan main musik berbulan-bulan. Mereka percaya musik dan doa akan membatalkan letusan gunung.

“Rama Madrais sudah sangat sepuh … ditandu secara bergantian ke Ciremai. Di kaki gunung jadi tempat istirahat, ya di sini, di Curug Goong,” kata Ela.

Pangeran Madrais pemuka yang kharismatik. Dia mengaji ajaran Sunda dan Jawa Kuno. Dia mendirikan komunitas Sunda Wiwitan pada 1925 dengan nama resmi “Agama Djawa Sunda.”

Lokasi makam Sunda Wiwitan  ©2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Pejabat-pejabat Hindia Belanda, bisa dibayangkan, tak suka dengan kegiatan independen mereka. Beberapa pejabat berupaya desak mereka turun. Namun Ciremai tak jadi meletus. Mereka pun diam saja ketika rombongan Sunda Wiwitan tersebut membeli tanah di Curug Goong dan membangun sebuah pondok peristirahatan.

Pada Agustus 1945, saat Perang Dunia II berakhir, Badan Persiapan Usaha Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia mendukung Soekarno dan Mohamad Hatta menyatakan kemerdekaan. BPUPKI menyusun Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 yang berjanji melindungi segenap rakyat Indonesia dengan setara. Namun mereka juga bikin kompromi politik, antara Soekarno dan Hatta serta beberapa politisi Muslim, termasuk Wahid Hasjim, ketua Nahdlatul Ulama. Kesepakatannya, kurang lebih tak menjadikan Indonesia sebagai negara Islam namun juga bukan negara sekuler. Mereka sepakat membentuk Kementerian Agama sebagai “jembatan antara umat Islam dan negara Indonesia.” Pembukaan UUD 1945 diisi dengan apa yang disebut sebagai Pancasila.

Di Garut, sekitar empat jam perjalanan bermobil dari Curug Goong, sebuah milisi Islamis tak puas dengan perjanjian antara Indonesia dan Belanda maupun kesepakatan itu. Mereka memproklamasikan Darul Islam pada Agustus 1949, dengan ikrar menerapkan “syariat Islam” di Indonesia. Dalam rentang 1950 hingga 1958, Darul Islam menggelar sebuah kampanye gerilya, yang gagal tapi didukung sebagian rakyat Jawa Barat. Sasaran mereka bukan hanya tentara Indonesia, tapi juga kelompok-kelompok agama minoritas.

Di Jakarta, Menteri Agama Wahid Hasjim menerbitkan Peraturan Menteri Agama pada 1952 untuk memisahkan antara “kepercayaan” dan “agama.” Secara resmi, dalam kosa kata bahasa Indonesia, berbagai agama minoritas dan gerakan spiritual disebut sebagai “aliran kepercayaan.”

Wahid menyatakan kepercayaan adalah “suatu paham dogmatis, terjalin dengan adat istiadat hidup dari berbagai macam suku bangsa, lebih-lebih pada suku bangsa yang masih terbelakang. Pokok kepercayaannya, apa saja adat hidup nenek moyangnya sepanjang masa.”

Agama diartikan berdasarkan pemahaman monoteistik atau “Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa.” Apabila sebuah komunitas hendak dikategorikan sebagai agama, ia harus “menganut akidah monoteistik yang diakui secara internasional” serta “diajarkan oleh seorang nabi melalui kitab suci.” Prinsip monoteistik tersebut artinya tak menganggap agama-agama politeistik termasuk Hindu maupun agama-agama lain termasuk Buddha, Konghucu, Baha’i, Zoroaster, dan ratusan agama lokal serta gerakan spiritual di Indonesia.

Di Jawa Barat, Sunda Wiwitan menghadapi dua ancaman serius: Darul Islam, yang berulang kali mengintimidasi dan menyerang mereka, serta Kementerian Agama, yang berupaya mendorong “agama-agama terbelakang” seperti ke haribaan monoteisme.

Pada 1954, gerombolan Darul Islam menyerang pusat Sunda Wiwitan di Cigugur, Kuningan. “Paseban pernah dibakar (rumah ibadah) mujur berhasil padam bagian belakang,” kata Dewi Kanti, cicit Madrais. “Warga laki-laki sering diintimidasi, sweeping untuk dikhitan … dirampok sekitar 1955.”

Menurut Ela Romlah, yang belajar dari mertuanya, ada seorang lelaki Sunda Wiwitan, bernama Suanta Alka, ketemu Darul Islam di lembah dan disuruh bawa kerbau ke gunung. Dia ditemukan meninggal dengan luka tembak di leher. Ada juga Amsor diculik tidak diketahui rimbanya. Ada lagi namanya Mastara ditawan dan disuruh ambil beras kemudian dibunuh. Astra Asminah sekeluarga jadi korban.

Intimidasi dan kekerasan serupa juga terjadi di kabupaten-kabupaten tetangga: Tasikmalaya, Banjar, dan Garut. Kakek Dewi, Pangeran Tedja Buwana, penerus Madrais, sempat mengungsi dari Kuningan ke Bandung.

Darul Islam juga mengirimkan sejumlah militan ke Jakarta. Pada 30 November 1957, seorang militan Darul Islam melempar granat dalam sebuah acara sekolah yang dihadiri Presiden Soekarno. Enam murid sekolah tewas tapi Soekarno selamat.

Ketika secara militer terdesak, pada 14 Mei 1962, delapan militan Darul Islam menyelinap di antara jemaah salat Iduladha di halaman Istana Negara untuk menembak Soekarno. Peluru meleset dan mengenai seorang pengawal presiden dan seorang politikus.

Kalangan Muslim kolot terus bergiat memojokkan agama lokal dan gerakan spiritual. Untuk menenangkan mereka, Soekarno melarang komunitas Freemason Indonesia (Vrijmetselaren-Loge) beserta organisasi yang berinduk padanya termasuk Yayasan Raden Saleh, serta enam kelompok lain: organisasi Baha’i Indonesia, Divine Life Society, Moral Rearmament Movement, Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, Rotary Club, dan Liga Demokrasi –sebuah organisasi sosial yang dianggap kritis terhadap Soekarno. Rotary Club dituduh sebagai kelompok Zionis. Semuanya, teori konspirasi.

Pada Juni 1964, pemerintah Kuningan menyatakan pernikahan Sunda Wiwitan tidak sah. Kantor Kejaksaan Kuningan  menahan sembilan penganut Sunda Wiwitan —seorang agamawan dan delapan pengantin muda— selama beberapa bulan.

Potret pemuka agama Sunda Wiwitan, Pangeran Tedja Buana © 2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Suasana makin genting. Tedja Buwana, yang telah kembali dari Bandung, memutuskan masuk Katolik dan mengubah paseban menjadi gereja. Ada 5.000 orang Sunda Wiwitan mengikuti langkahnya, menurut Cornelius Iman Sukmana dalam buku tentang Sunda Wiwitan dan Gereja Katolik.

“Itu keputusan penting. Kakek saya menyelamatkan ribuan anggota kami dari tuduhan ateisme,” kata Dewi Kanti, merujuk pembantaian besar-besaran terhadap orang komunis pada 1965-1969. “Entah apa yang akan terjadi seandainya tidak dilakukan.”

Beberapa dekade kemudian, setelah suasana lebih tenang, banyak di antara mereka, termasuk Dewi Kanti, secara terbuka, walau tak resmi, kembali ke Sunda Wiwitan. Namun banyak juga yang tetap ikut misa Minggu dan mengenakan kalung salib. Beberapa dari mereka juga mengantongi liontin Sunda Wiwitan (berbentuk gunung dengan seekor garuda dan dua naga).

“Di Kuningan, wajar saja ada beberapa agama dalam satu keluarga,” kata seorang pedagang dekat Gua Maria Sawer Rahmat.

Ketika meninggalkan Batu Satangtung, saya berpikir perpindahan agama dan perpindahan lagi ini membuktikan bahwa identitas keagamaan bukan zero sum game. Artinya, seseorang yang meninggalkan suatu agama dan masuk ke agama lain tak berarti bahwa agama pertama menjadi nol. Identitas sering dibayangkan sebagai sebuah wadah dengan volume tetap; seolah-olah orang hanya bisa memilih satu dari sekian identitas. Warga Sunda Wiwitan menunjukkan bahwa wadah itu dapat diperbesar dan orang bisa memiliki berbagai identitas. Saya seharusnya tak perlu heran menemukan Jalan Salib dan pesantren berdekatan dengan makam sesepuh Sunda Wiwitan.

Pasal Penodaan Agama 1965

Di Kuningan, saya mendatangi kawasan paseban, melihat aula kayu yang molek sembari minum teh herbal dengan racikan beragam dari lemon dan jahe sambil berbincang dengan Okky Satrio Djati. Dia orang Jawa, pemeluk Katolik, pasangan dari Dewi Kanti, menikah hampir dua dekade silam.

Okky Satrio Djati dan saya pernah bekerja bersama dalam sebuah organisasi media zaman Soeharto, menjalakan kantor berita alternatif dan memakai server mobile. Djati pergi ke Kuningan pada 1998, ketika Presiden Soeharto menghadapi unjuk rasa besar-besaran saat krisis ekonomi Asia. Dia turut menyembunyikan sejumlah aktivis politik yang dicari aparat keamanan.

Djati sekarang pemeluk Sunda Wiwitan, berbicara dalam bahasa Sunda, menyalakan dupa dan kadang-kadang semedi tengah malam di gunung terdekat. “Dia lebih Sunda daripada saya,” ujar Kanti, tertawa.

Djati mendukung istrinya menghadapi diskriminasi yang kerap dialami anggota-anggota Sunda Wiwitan. “Suami saya memilih Katolik sebagai agama resminya,” kata Kanti. “Tapi dia beribadah Kejawen. Kalau kami bersikeras untuk menikah sesuai agama-agama (asli) kami, anak-anak kami tidak bakal mendapat akta kelahiran, atau setidaknya, mendapat akta tanpa nama suami saya.”

Dalam sistem hukum Indonesia, penganut agama etnis tak dapat mencantumkan “kepercayaan” mereka pada kolom “agama” di KTP. Kalau ingin menikah secara legal, mereka harus memilih salah satu dari enam agama yang dilindungi negara. Mereka bisa saja mengosongkan kolom “agama” di KTP namun kalau menikah dan punya anak, Kantor Catatan Sipil takkan mengakui pernikahan mereka, thus akte kelahiran si anak, tak terdapat nama si ayah.

Paseban (rumah ibadah) Sunda Wiwitan di Kuningan, Jawa Barat, dulu juga digunakan sebagai gereja Katolik © 2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Persoalan kelompok minoritas agama di Indonesia mendapatkan diskriminasi lagi pada Januari 1965 ketika Presiden Soekarno mengeluarkan sebuah penetapan yang melarang siapa pun mengeluarkan perasaan atau melakukan “perbuatan permusuhan, penyalahgunaan atau penodaan terhadap suatu agama yang dianut di Indonesia.” Maksudnya, menurut Soekarno, siapa pun akan dihukum maksimal lima tahun penjara bila membuat “orang tidak menganut agama apapun yang bersendikan Ketuhanan yang Maha Esa.” Soekarno menyebut enam agama yang dilindungi dengan penetapan tersebut: Islam, Protestan, Katolik, Hindu, Buddha, dan Konghucu. Penetapan tersebut juga dijadikan pasal 156(a) Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana. Dampak dari penetapan ini mengerikan.

Setelah menggeser Soekarno, pemerintahan Soeharto menerapkan peraturan Menteri Agama 1952, yang mensyaratkan “agama” untuk memiliki kitab suci. Ujung-ujungnya banyak kisah ajaib soal agama-agama non-monoteistik menyesuaikan diri. Di Kalimantan, tetua Dayak menciptakan Panaturan –sekumpulan ajaran leluhur Dayak– dalam bentuk “sebuah kitab suci.” Dibilang perlu ada rohaniwan maka tetua Dayak bikin berbagai pelatihan buat pisur atau badewa. Ritual yang sebelumnya digelar di hutan atau rumah dipindahkan ke rumah ibadah yang disebut Balai Basarah. Terpenting, para pemuka agama Kaharingan terpaksa menyesuaikan agama mereka dengan salah satu dari enam agama resmi. Mereka memilih Hindu, dan terciptalah “Hindu Kaharingan.” Tapi jangan coba-coba tanya mereka soal Ganesha atau karma.

Presiden Soeharto bicara soal Kejawen dan Islam yang dianutnya dalam buku biografinya terbitan 1989. Soeharto menjelaskan masyarakat Jawa terbiasa dengan sinkretisme. Dia merayakan hari raya Islam dan semedi di tempat suci saat hendak mengambil keputusan penting.

Pada 7 September 1974, tiga bulan sebelum Indonesia menyerbu Timor Timur, Perdana Menteri Australia Gough Whitlam menemui Soeharto di sebuah villa di kaki Gunung Dieng, dekat Gua Semar di mana Soeharto bersemadi. Semar adalah karakter perwayangan Jawa yang dikagumi Soeharto. Sampai sekarang Gua Semar dianggap keramat.

Pada 2019, saya sempat mendatangi Gua Semar (terkunci) dan villa (jadi museum) yang memajang gambar-gambar pertemuan Soeharto dengan Whitlam. Soeharto punya sikap terbuka terhadap agama-agama etnis. Pada 1978, Soeharto membentuk direktorat baru dalam Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan untuk mengurusi agama-agama etnis. Dia menjelaskan keputusannya di depan parlemen, “Kepercayaan terhadap Tuhan Yang Maha Esa bukanlah agama dan juga bukan agama baru. Karena itu tidak perlu dibandingkan, apalagi dipertentangkan dengan agama. Kepercayaan terhadap Tuhan Yang Maha Esa adalah kenyataan budaya yang hidup dan dihayati oleh sebagian bangsa kita.”

Foto: Situs pertemuan Soeharto-Whitlam kini jadi museum ©2020 Andreas Harsono/Human Rights Watch

Keputusan bahwa “kepercayaan” diletakkan di Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan –bukan Kementerian Agama– menunjukkan bahwa organisasi-organisasi Islam menentang agama-agama lokal buat dianggap sebagai agama. Mereka keberatan “kepercayaan” masuk dalam ranah Kementerian Agama. Salah satu alasan Majelis Ulama Indonesia menentang “kepercayaan” adalah kemungkinan data kependudukan akan bergeser, persentase “umat Islam” yang mayoritas (88%) bisa merosot, setidaknya di beberapa daerah.

Di Kuningan, suasana yang relatif stabil sesudah pidato Soeharto mendorong warga Sunda Wiwitan kembali terbuka soal agama asli mereka. Sebagian dari mereka secara resmi meninggalkan Gereja Katolik. Sebagian lagi menjalankan dua agama, hidup dengan pusparagam identitas. Pada 1982, pemeluk Sunda Wiwitan mendaftarkan agama mereka ke direktorat Kementerian Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan, agar anggota-anggota mereka bisa dapat pelayanan negara.

Sepanjang akhir pekan saya bicara dengan Ela Romlah, Dewi Kanti, Okky Djati, dan para pemeluk Sunda Wiwitan, muda maupun tua, perempuan maupun laki-laki, saya merekam diskriminasi yang mereka alami, juga dampak intoleransi terhadap orang-orang yang penuh toleransi seperti mereka, selama lima dekade.

Alangkah menakjubkan melihat sebuah agama kecil sanggup bertahan terhadap kekuasaan negara yang kuat dan diskriminatif. Soeharto mengambil langkah penting untuk melindungi kebebasan beragama dari agama-agama etnis, namun lebih baik lagi seandainya Soeharto memiliki keberanian moral untuk membatalkan pasal penodaan agama serta mencabut kriteria aneh dan berbahaya tentang agama sejak era Soekarno. Sayangnya, Soeharto maupun para penggantinya, kecuali Abdurrahman Wahid, tak punya komitmen politik yang penting ini.

Diskriminasi Pasca Soeharto

Jarwan adalah satu-satunya lelaki yang jaga malam di Curug Goong. Dia ada sepeda motor dan ditemani beberapa anjing.

“Harus ada yang jaga,” katanya.

“Saya yang paling muda di antara para sesepuh.”

Pada Juli 2020, Pemerintah Kabupaten Kuningan menyegel makam itu dengan alasan warga Sunda Wiwitan tak punya surat izin bikin “monumen.” Belasan warga Islam Sunni menyertai petugas-petugas pemerintah untuk menyegel makam. Mereka mengatakan “monumen” itu musyrik.

Warga Sunda Wiwitan menjelaskan bahwa mereka tidak membangun “monumen,” melainkan makam untuk dua sesepuh mereka, tepatnya orang tua Dewi Kanti, Pangeran Djati Kusumah dan Emalia Wigarningsih.

“Ini tanah mereka. Tidak ada aturan yang melarang orang bikin kuburan di tanahnya sendiri,” kata Djati.

Itu bukan peristiwa aneh di banyak provinsi mayoritas Muslim di Indonesia. Organisasi-organisasi hak asasi manusia mencatat bahwa ratusan peristiwa setiap tahun yang melibatkan kelompok-kelompok Islam Sunni, yang sering main hakim sendiri dan makin lama makin agresif menyerang atau mengusik rumah-rumah ibadah minoritas. Sasarannya termasuk Muslim Ahmadiyah dan Muslim Syiah maupun Kristen. Sebuah contoh: Pada 13-14 Mei 2018, sejumlah Islamis melakukan pengeboman bunuh diri di tiga gereja di Surabaya, membunuh sekurangnya 12 orang dan melukai lebih dari 50 orang lain. Tiga belas pelaku, termasuk anak-anak mereka, tewas dalam bom bunuh diri.

Pada 2006, pemerintah Indonesia memperkenalkan peraturan pendirian rumah ibadah yang segera disusul tuntutan penutupan “gereja-gereja tanpa izin” oleh kalangan Islam garis keras. Ratusan gereja ditutup. Sejumlah perkumpulan jemaat Kristen memenangkan tuntutan di pengadilan dan diizinkan membangun gereja, tapi pemerintah setempat mengabaikan putusan pengadilan. Gereja Kristen Indonesia di Taman Yasmin Bogor ditutup pada 2008. Jemaat GKI Yasmin gugat ke pengadilan dan memenangkan gugatan di Mahkamah Agung dua tahun kemudian. Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono meminta pemerintah Bogor membuka kembali gereja tersebut, api pemerintah daearah menolak, tanpa konsekuensi apapun.

Sebaliknya, pada 2010 Kementerian Agama mencatat ada 243.199 masjid di seluruh Indonesia, sekitar 78% dari keseluruhan rumah ibadah. Sensus pemerintah tahun 2020, yang menggunakan drone dan fotografi, mencatat sekurangnya 554.152 masjid. Artinya, jumlah masjid di Indonesia bertambah lebih dari dua kali lipat dalam satu dekade.

Pada 10 November, ulama garis keras Rizieq Shihab kembali dari pengasingan di Arab Saudi. Dia segera bertemu dengan ribuan pengikutnya dan menyerukan. “Yang menghina nabi, menghina Islam, menghina ulama, proses, betul? Kalau tidak diproses jangan salahkan umat Islam kalau besok kepalanya ditemukan di jalanan.” Pada 27 November, sekelompok Islamis menyerang sebuah dusun di Sigi, Sulawesi Tengah, memenggal kepala seorang sesepuh Gereja Bala Keselamatan dan tiga kerabatnya. Militan Islam Sunni ini juga membakar gereja Bala Keselamatan dan enam rumah warga Kristen di sana. Polisi belakangan menangkap Shihab dengan alasan melanggar protokol COVID-19, bukan menghasut kekerasan.

Banyak hasutan dan ancaman yang memicu kekerasan dimungkinkan oleh berbagai peraturan di Indonesia yang diskriminatif. Berbagai aturan menyediakan posisi tawar jauh lebih tinggi bagi siapa pun yang mengatasnamakan mayoritas daripada minoritas. Institusi-institusi seperti Kementerian Agama, Badan Koordinasi Pengawasan Aliran Kepercayaan dan Keagamaan (Bakor Pakem) di bawah Kejaksaan Agung, Forum Kerukunan Umat Beragama, dan Majelis Ulama Indonesia, lembaga setengah resmi, menerbitkan berbagai aturan dan fatwa yang merugikan agama-agama minoritas, serta sering kali mendorong tuntutan hukum terhadap siapa pun yang dituding “menghina agama.”

Pasal penodaan agama pada 2016 dipakai menjerat tiga tokoh komunitas Gerakan Fajar Nusantara. Mereka diadili setelah lebih dari 7.000 anggota Gafatar diusir dengan kekerasan dari lahan pertanian mereka di Kalimantan. Sasaran lain, yang lebih terkenal, adalah mantan Gubernur Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. Dia dihukum penjara dua tahun atas tuduhan “penodaan agama” saat pemilihan gubernur 2019. Sekutunya, Presiden Joko Widodo, hanya diam dan tak berbuat banyak terhadap politisasi agama dari kalangan Islam radikal.

Kekerasan terhadap warga minoritas dan kegagalan pemerintah Indonesia untuk bertindak tegas bertentangan dengan jaminan kebebasan beragama di dalam Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 serta hukum internasional, termasuk konvensi-konvensi internasional yang sudah diratifikasi Indonesia. Kovenan Internasional tentang Hak-hak Sipil dan Politik, yang diratifikasi parlemen Indonesia pada 2005, mengatur, “Orang-orang yang tergolong minoritas tidak boleh diingkari haknya dalam masyarakat, bersama anggota kelompoknya yang lain, untuk menikmati budaya mereka sendiri, untuk menjalankan dan mengamalkan agamanya sendiri.”

Tentu saja, ada perbaikan sederhana. Rotary Club beroperasi kembali pada 1970 setelah kematian Soekarno. Pada tahun 2000, Presiden Abdurrahman Wahid, putra tertua Wahid Hasjim, membatalkan ketetapan Presiden Soekarno pada 1962 yang melarang Freemason dan organisasi-organisasi lain. Setelah belasan anggotanya dipenjara karena dianggap melanggar ketetapan tersebut, komunitas Baha’i menghidupkan kembali jaringan mereka; namun tetap dilarang membangun rumah ibadah hingga harus beribadah di rumah-rumah pribadi.

Perubahan lain terjadi pada 2006 ketika Presiden Yudhoyono meneken Undang-Undang tentang Administrasi Kependudukan, yang tak lagi menuntut para penganut “kepercayaan” untuk berpindah ke “agama” yang untuk diakui dalam KTP. Namun banyak pegawai negeri belum menyadari atau malah mengabaikan undang-undang tersebut, sehingga pemeluk agama minoritas tetap kesulitan kalau menolak memilih satu dari enam agama. “Mereka cuma bilang, ‘Anda tidak bertuhan kalau kolom agama dikosongkan,’” ujar Kanti, yang pada KTP-nya kosong pada kolom “agama.”

Di Kuningan, Ombudsman Republik Indonesia akhirnya menengahi sengketa antara komunitas Sunda Wiwitan dan pemerintah setempat, mendorong pejabat daerah untuk mencabut segel dari lahan keluarga Dewi Kanti serta mengizinkan Sunda Wiwitan meneruskan pembangunan makam.

Kantor Ombudsman juga membantu komunitas Dayak Kaharingan dengan mendesak sejumlah pemerintah daerah untuk mencabut diskriminasi yang berlaku puluhan tahun. Ahmad Suaedy dari Ombudsman mengatakan dalam sebuah webinar, “Perkara utamanya adalah para penganut agama-agama lokal ini harus bisa mengakses layanan publik. Mereka harus memberanikan diri untuk melaporkan kesulitan yang mereka hadapi.”

Pada 2017, empat warga negara Indonesia mengajukan uji materi ke Mahkamah Konstitusi, menuntut hak pencantuman agama mereka di KTP. Keempatnya mewakili agama-agama lokal  Marapu (Sumba), Sapto Darmo (Jawa), serta Parmalim dan Ugamo Bangsa Batak (Sumatra). Pada 7 November 2017, Mahkamah Konstitusi mengabulkan permohonan mereka.

Namun Majelis Ulama Indonesia menentang keputusan itu. Kementerian Dalam Negeri, yang menerbitkan dan mengelola KTP, hingga kini tak kunjung menerapkan keputusan Mahkamah Konstitusi. Menurut MUI, keputusan itu telah “melukai perasaan umat Islam,” tapi tak jelas apa landasan hukum Kementerian Dalam Negeri untuk melalaikan tugasnya.

Di sisi lain, Mahkamah Konstitusi menolak tiga uji materi yang menuntut pencabutan pasal penodaan agama dalam rentang tahun 2009 hingga 2018, serta menyatakan bahwa kebebasan beragama harus mengikuti batasan tertentu dalam rangka memelihara ketertiban umum (mantan Presiden Abdurrahman Wahid turut menggugat pada 2009). Berbagai batasan itu, ujar hakim dalam putusannya pada 2010, ditentukan oleh “para ulama,” atau dengan kata lain: negara menyerahkan hak-hak kaum minoritas ke tangan segelintir penganut agama mayoritas yang bahkan tak pernah mereka pilih.

Ada lebih dari 180 komunitas agama etnis yang tersebar dari Sumatra hingga pulau-pulau kecil di Indonesia Timur. Agama-agama ini diperkirakan memayungi sekitar 10 hingga 12 juta

orang, sekalipun sensus 2010 mencatat hanya 299.617 orang atau 0,13% populasi Indonesia mengatakan secara eksklusif memeluk agama etnis. Masih sulit, bahkan kadang berbahaya, untuk menyatakan keyakinan pribadi secara terbuka di Indonesia.

Memang, pertarungan melawan para pejabat  pemerintah dan ulama Sunni sangat meletihkan. Para politikus yang pengecut, birokrat yang tak cakap, dan ulama Sunni yang berpikiran sempit adalah onak berduri bagi kemajuan demokrasi dan hak-hak asasi manusia di Indonesia.

Jarwan di Curug Goong, tahu persis bahwa dia tak bisa mengandalkan pemerintah atau siapapun untuk melindungi makam yang dijaganya. “Kami mengalami penganiayaan dan intimidasi selama berpuluh-puluh tahun. Kami harus menjaga tempat suci kami sendiri.”

Andreas Harsono adalah peneliti di Human Rights Watch. Pada 1994, dia ikut mendirikan Aliansi Jurnalis Independen di Jakarta serta Yayasan Pantau pada 2003. Buku terbarunya, Race Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia.

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