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Indonesia Regent Orders Closure Of Churches

Sunday, July 1, 2012 (10:16 am)
By BosNewsLife Asia Service

Devoted Christians in Indonesia have been targeted by Islamists, Christians and rights activists say.



JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BosNewsLife)-- Christians in Indonesia's semi-autonomous province of Aceh faced a tense Sunday, July 1, after local authorities ordered the demolition of 20 churches.

Razali Abdul Rahman, the acting regent of Aceh Singkil Regency in Aceh, signed the letter already on April 30, but details recently emerged.

He ordered the closure of 17 Protestant churches, two Catholic churches and one place of worship belonging to followers of a local nondenominational faith, The Jakarta Post newspaper said.

Rights activists said the announcement came after 16 smaller Christian places of worship were recently closed in the same district.

Rahman ordered members of the targeted congregations "to tear down" the churches themselves.

CHRISTIANS WORSHIP ANYWAY

Despite the threats, Christians in most of the 20 churches to be demolished were expected to gather again Sunday, July 1, inside their sealed off buildings.

Indonesia's Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi has reportedly said that he is not aware of the closure plans and would contact Razali to ask for clarification.

He stressed that citizens "had a right to worship as long as they complied with regulation."

Yet, Christians say local authorities backed by Islamic hardliners often interpret rules differently.

INCREASED RELIGIOUS TENSIONS

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, has seen an increase in religious tensions and growing pressure on devoted minority Christians, according to church groups and rights activists.

Among those targeted are Christians in the city of Bekasi on West Java province where members of the Filadelfia Batak Protestant Churches (HKBP) continue to be regularly assaulted and harassed by Muslims when they try to conduct  Sunday services, The Jakarta Post reported.

The Bekasi regency sealed off the church site in 2010 after local residents objected to the construction of the church.

The regency has refused to open the site even after the Bandung State Administrative Court ruled in favor of HKBP Filadelfia.

6 Responses to “Indonesia Regent Orders Closure Of Churches”

  1. JeffB Says:

    Typo — please fix:

    “Christians in India’s [Should be "Indonesia's"] semi-autonomous province of Aceh faced a tense Sunday, July 1, after local authorities ordered the demolition of 20 churches.”

    This should be International news. This site seems to be the only source for it. How can we get updates? What steps can we take to get publicity for it? Thanks.

  2. Stefan Bos Says:

    Dear JeffB,

    Well on the mark! Thanks for this. We indeed spotted the typo after we send this alert out under deadline pressure and obviously India’s should have read Indonesia’s. We have made the changes. We are regularly covering these news developments about reported persecution. We also have a special service of regular news updates for subscribers who help us to maintain this online news service, which is privately, independently, funded. http://www.bosnewslife.com/republishing-rights .

    Best wishes,

    Stefan
    Stefan J. Bos

  3. Arthur Samuel Says:

    I will appreciate the members to sign my petition for a Jew being persecuted in Malaysia a Muslim country from the attach link enclosed http://www.change.org/petitions/arthur-samuel-sign-a-letter-for-a-malaysian-dispora-jew?share_id=xOwCqabgZn

    Please forward to friends,family,relatives to assist in spreading the signature signing for the petition.

  4. dugger Says:

    Islam has a very serious problem. They are, it seems, intent on spreading their poison around the world.

    In free WESTERN society muslims are allowed to build mosques and worship whoever in hell they wish to but, in backward, third world countries islam wants to destoy other religions.

    Apparently, other religions cause muslims fear and they realize that their form of “religion”…It’s actually a cult….can only survive through intimidation, violence and terror. That’s something islam and the nazi’s have in common.

    Islam is a blight on the world.

  5. august Says:

    here are my country that treat minorities under Islamic law in Special Region of Aceh.., while the authorities in jakarta seems have no intentions to stand in equal right of religion….that truly contradicts with constitution under reign of SBY…

  6. Islam and Extremism: What is Underneath Says:

    [...] often extolled as a model Islamic democracy, has restrictions on religious freedom.  See “Indonesia Regent Orders Closure Of Churches,” BosNewsLife Asia Service (July 1, [...]

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