Religion is an important part of the socio-cultural system of the Papuan people, which is based on the principle of one three stone stove, namely the stone consisting of government, custom and religion. Three stones are also commonly associated with the three religions, Islam, Christianity, and Catholicism.
To maintain this principle, the pattern of education applied is an important way for its sustainability, especially in building harmonization of life. Through education, the values of togetherness and brotherhood on the basis of humanity are inherited and taught to new generations in Papua. This was revealed in an international webinar entitled “Religions Education and the Challenge of Harmony in Papua-Indonesia and Cape Town South Africa: A Comparison, which brought together Papuan leaders and scholars from Indonesia and South Africa, Wednesday (18/8/2021).
This International Webinar activity was attended by speakers including Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Poliicy Studies at Stellenbosch University, South Africa Nuraan Davids, Chair of PWNU Papua and member of the Papuan People’s Council (MRP) Tony Wanggai and Professor of Anthropology at UIN Jakarta Ichsan Tanggok , and guided by Indonesian Muslim Crisis Center researcher and UIN Jakarta Lecturer Maria Ulfa.
Why juxtaposed with South Africa, South African scholar, Nuraan Davids said, South Africa has a historical relationship with Indonesia where many immigrants came from various countries, one of them from Indonesia. Since apartheid, Muslim education has developed in two ways, namely education in mosques and in Muslim schools. These developments continued to occur in the post-apartheid and reform periods.
He also appreciated the harmonization in Papua. According to him, harmony in Papua, the Muslim community in South Africa, especially in Cape Town, take positive examples from the Muslim community in Indonesia because of their very close history. The Muslim and Christian communities blend well, and there is an awareness to create interfaith dialogue. Interfaith marriages also strengthen the bonds between different religions.
“Religious education has a crucial role in providing a bridge between the identity of a Muslim and that of a South African citizen. The principles of civic fiqh including fairness, participation, respect, responsibility and accountability, are very important to maintain harmony. Teachers have a role in forming productive and responsible citizens. The diverse identities of teachers will broaden students’ perspectives. The more diverse the identity of the teacher, the more harmony will increase. Religious education is very important to increase the harmonization of diversity,” explained the Professor of Philosophy of Education in the Department of Picy Studies at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Similarly, the Chairperson of the Papuan PWNU Toni Wanggai said, Islam has existed in Papua since the 15th century through interactions with the Tidore Kingdom. Then in the 16th century formed Islamic kingdoms located in Raja Ampat. The relationship between Islam and Christianity in Papua is very harmonious which has been going on since 200 years ago, where the Sultan of Tidore escorted Christian missionaries from Germany Otto and Greisler in Papua in 1855.
The cultural approach taken by the missionaries through a cultural approach, including translating the Bible into local languages, resulted in Christianity growing faster. “Harmony in the Papuan government is also illustrated in terms of 1 3 stone stove, where the 3 stones represent Islam, Christianity and Catholicism. The division of power is carried out on this basis with Christian governors, Muslim representatives, Catholic regional secretaries or vice versa,” said the member of the Papuan People’s Council (MRP).
This cultural approach continues to be passed down through various channels, especially education. According to anthropologist Ikhsan Tanggok, tolerance and harmony between religions in Papua occurs in everyday life and educational institutions such as schools and universities. There are three Islamic educational institutions that have an important role in creating harmony and tolerance in Papua, namely Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah, and Yapis.
“Papua has a tradition that is thick with tolerance, one of which is Bakar Batu. The tradition has a deep meaning, namely as an expression of gratitude to God and a symbol of strong solidarity. Burning stones can also be used as a medium of peace between warring groups. The people of Fakfak West Papua have a philosophy introduced by their ancestors, namely one three stone stove. The stove is a symbol of life, while the three stones are a symbol of ‘you’, ‘me’, and ‘he’ of different religions, ethnicities, social status in one brotherhood. Another symbol of harmony is the Patimburak Mosque, in Patimburak Village, Fakfak, West Papua.
“Patimburak Mosque was built by King Pertuanan Wertuar in 1870. The architecture of this mosque is very unique because it is a combination of a mosque and a church. This mosque was built by three religious groups, namely Islam, Catholicism and Protestantism,” explained the professor at UIN Jakarta.
Indonesian Moslem Crisis Center researcher, Maria Ulfa, assessed that from the explanations of the speakers, it can be believed that the people of Papua Indonesia and Cape Town South Africa live in peace and tolerance and have educational and traditional patterns in resolving conflicts with local wisdom. “The idea of religious tolerance is not difficult, because the teachings of each religion teach about mutual recognition and respect for others. Differences in language, religious culture and even ethnicity are acceptable,” he said.