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The participants and speakers, including the Executive Director of Leimena Institute, Matius Ho, visited the mosque as one of the sessions in the 10th Religion & Rule of Law Certificate Training Program in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on November 1-4, 2022.


IL News 002/2023

Jakarta  – Leimena Institute once again shared its experiences in implementing the Cross Cultural Religious Literacy (CCRL) program through an event named the 10th Religion & Rule of Law Certificate Training Program organized by the Institute for Global Engagement (IGE) and its partners in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, held on November 1-4, 2022.

Executive Director of Leimena Institute, Matius Ho, said that the CCRL program has been implemented with a number of partners, as an effort towards covenantal pluralism in strengthening interreligious harmony.

Indonesia became the first country in the world to implement a comprehensive CCRL program, starting from training activities to strengthening alumni. Since 2021, the number of CCRL alumni has reached 3,201 madrasa/Islamic boarding school teachers from 33 provinces in Indonesia.

Matius said that Indonesia is a country with different religions, ethnicities and cultures, but has the ideology of Pancasila as the nation’s unifier. Pancasila is contained in the Preamble to the Indonesian Constitution, namely the 1945 Constitution, and is the source of all law sources including the Constitution, which guarantees human rights and freedom of religion or belief.

“Not many countries have guaranteed freedom of religion in their constitution, which makes it extraordinary since Indonesia guarantees this human right as stated explicitly in Articles 28E and Article 29 of the 1945 Constitution,” Matius stated.

According to Matius, the concept of covenantal pluralism concurrently contains laws that are by nature “top-down” along with policy parameters, as well as cultural norms and practices that are “bottom-up”. The world of covenantal pluralism is characterized both by the existence of constitutional provisions for equal rights and responsibilities, and by a reciprocal cultural commitment for mutual engagement, respect, and protection of each other.

For Indonesia, the concept of covenantal pluralism is in line with the agreement of the founding fathers in the Youth Pledge and Pancasila.

“Pancasila, which is contained in the Indonesian Constitution, is a law that is by nature top-down, but is also widely accepted bottom-up as a ‘covenant’ that binds Indonesia as a nation and is promoted by many other religious and civil society organizations,” said Matius.

Dialogue with Buddhist leaders at a local temple.

The four-day training in Ho Chi Minh highlighted a number of topics at the intersection of religion and law such as the legal status of religious groups, the personal rights of religious adherents, Article 18 of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, registration of religious organizations, as well as human dignity and freedom of religion.

Apart from Matius Ho from Leimena Institute, the training participants also listened to Singapore’s experiences presented by Eugene Tan as Associate Professor of Law, Singapore Management University. Matius gave a presentation entitled “Covenantal Pluralism in Indonesia: CCRL Training to Strengthen Religious Harmony”, while Tan delivered a presentation, “Singapore Model: State, Society, and Religious and Ethnic Minorities”.

This training by IGE was attended by 93 participants from six provinces and cities in the southeastern region of Vietnam. The participants consisted of provincial-level religious affairs officials, lecturers at government training institutions, and religious leaders.

Question and answer session with the speakers.

In this training, the participants were brought to religious sites from several religious communities in Ho Chi Minh City to hear the perspectives of different religious leaders. The same thing was also done in the CCRL workshop program in Indonesia which was held in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, Malang (East Java), Palu (Central Sulawesi), and Semarang (Central Java).

“For many of the participants, this was their first time visiting a Buddhist temple, mosque or Hindu temple,” as quoted from an article on the IGE website.

Since 2012, IGE and its partners, the Institute for Religion and Belief at the National Academy of Politics in Ho Chi Minh, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies (ICLRS) at Brigham Young University Law School, and the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organization’s Vietnam-USA Society, has held 10 training programs on religion and the rule of law. These trainings were attended by more than 1,000 government officials, academics and religious leaders. [IL/Chr]