Full Tolerance of the Dani Tribe in the Baliem Valley, Papua

goodmorningpapua.com –  The Dani tribe living in the Baliem Valley in Jayawijaya Regency, Papua Province has maintained religious diversity and tolerance since their ancestors existed. For example, before the introduction of Islamic values, there were already in the Baliem Valley Protestant and Catholic Christians ones.

The Papua Archaeology Centre said that Islam came into the Baliem Valley around 1964. At that time, the spread of Islamic teachings brought by their ancestors preached people in Walesi District, Jayawijaya Regency to learn Islam.

In Hari Suroto’s research, archaeologists from the Papua Archaeological Centre said that the Walesi people, who are Muslim, still maintain traditions from the central highlands of Papua, for example the tradition of Barapen or burning the stones which is usually done in welcoming Ramadan. The difference is, so far, roasting the stone is identical with pork, by the people in Walesi it was replaced by using chicken.

A valuable lesson that can be taken from religious life in the Baliem Valley is a high sense of religious tolerance.

Papuan Muslims in the Baliem Valley concentrate in the Walesi District. At that location there is a mosque and a boarding school. Most of the children in the Islamic Boarding House [Pesantren] come from the highlands of Papua. There are those who are deliberately entrusted by their parents to take knowledge, there are also children who do not even know their parents.

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Even so, life in Walesi is very close to kinship between religions. About 200 meters from Pesantren, there is a Catholic Church and elementary school. Before, there was a Pesantren founded in 1984, the Muslim children of Walesi studied in the Catholic elementary schools. The study hours are carried out alternately with Catholic pupils.

Abu Asso, a Walesi youth leader, recognised that interfaith tolerance and kinship in the Baliem Valley were very well created. Abu admitted that many of his close relatives have different religions but still honor each other.

“Including if there is a Barapen event, our Muslim or Christian families understand each other. If there is processed food from pork, it will be separated for those of us who are Muslim and we will eat chicken, or vice versa,” said Asso. Kinship between religions is also well established. For example, if it is a major religious holiday. Precisely on Muslim or Christian holidays, families can gather, get together and share stories together.

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