ADVERTISING
 
Monday, August 20   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
New season
What kind of contents do you enjoy most?






SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Persecuted Christians
 

'Religious harmony' law: 1,000 Indonesian churches closed

Sixty signatures from people of a different faith and a permission from the local authority are needed to build a church. Closures and violence against Christians have not stopped the Church from growing.

SOURCES Agencies, CBNNews, Christian Today JAKARTA 14 DECEMBER 2015 19:00 h GMT+1
Indonesian Christian women cried after losing their church building. / Reuters

The Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) Yasmin in Bogor, West Java, will hold an interfaith celebration, and will be joined by human rights organisations.



The church is just one of many to have been closed down as part of a wider crackdown on minority faiths in Indonesia.



Minority faiths have suffered in Muslim-majority Indonesia since the implementation nine years ago of a law to promote 'religious harmony'.



In practice, this law requires non-Muslims to obtain 60 signatures from people of a different faith as well as permission from the local authority before they can build a place of worship.



If a church is deemed not to have the correct building permits, it can be torn down. GKI Yasmin has been embroiled in controversy over its permits since 2008.



Since the passage of this “religious harmony” bill, more than 1,000 Indonesian Christian churches have closed. Others have never been built.





IRREGULARITIES WITH THE PERMITS



According to Human Rights Watch World Report, dozens of Christian leaders have complained that even though they fulfill the requirements, the government has denied them permits.



The 2013 report found that 80 percent of houses of worship, including mosques, lack permits, according to World Watch Monitor.



In August, the World Evangelical Alliance’s Religious Liberty Commission criticized president Joko Widodo for doing little to fight against the country’s Islamic extremists.



“The parliament is dominated by opposition parties, some of which are Islamist and can make it difficult for the president to function”, WEA stated.



 



Protesters in Jakarta after chuches closures.



“However, just as Jokowi has managed to win their support for passing important bills, it is not impossible for him to make his way to adopt a strict policy in the area of law and order. After all, every incident of blocking of worship services, violent attacks, and closure of churches is a blatant violation of law”, they added.



In a city in the province of West Java, all of its 29 Christian churches have been forcibly closed even after meeting the requirements needed to operate legally as a church.





“WE WILL NOT STOP HAUNTING CHRISTIANS”



Imams in Aceh, the only part of Indonesia where Sharia law is practised, have reportedly ordered the torching of churches, and Christians have been subject to regular bouts of mob violence.



Earlier this month, the Gatestone Institute released a report entitled 'The Indonesia Jihad on Christian churches', which claimed that Imams had called on Muslims to torch churches.



"We will not stop haunting Christians and burning churches. Christians are Allah's enemies", one Islamic leader said, according to the report.



The extremists stir up violent mobs to destroy the buildings and threaten believers. But the persecution has not stopping the Church from growing in the world's largest Muslim-populated nation.



 



A church destoryed in Aceh.



 



ISLAMIC DEFENDERS FONT



Indonesia's most radical Islamic group, the Islamic Defenders Front, is the driving force behind the church closures.



"Angry members of the Islamic Defender's Front barged into our church and destroyed our musical instruments, chairs, everything," the church's pastor, Bernard Maukar, told CBN News.



"It's been more than a year since I passed all requirements to obtain a legal permit for our church, but the local government did not pay attention to it," he continued. "And because I was holding Sunday Service without a permit, they put me in jail for three months."



"My arrest was illegal, but the police arrested me because the angry Muslims were waiting outside the church," he said.



For several months, Pastor Bernard's church held services in an open field. Today, they are worshipping in private homes.



Pastor Kaleb Manurung's church has not been targeted by the radical Muslims. That's because a Muslim leader who is his friend protects them from the Islamic Defenders' Front.



 



In West Java, 29 Christian churches have been forcibly closed.



“Despite the persecution of Christians, reliable research shows the number of Christians in Indonesia has significantly increased”, Pastor Manurung affirmed.



Indonesia still has more Muslims than any other nation in the world, but Manurung believes that the rise of Christianity will bring a spiritual and societal transformation.





8,000 LEFT EVERYTHING BEHID



Just last month, the law sparked violence that eventually scared about 8,000 Indonesian Christians from their homes in Aceh province. In the country’s only province which follows Shari'ah law, Muslims had complained to authorities that 10 houses of worship lacked building permits and were illegally constructed, reported World Watch Monitor.



Local authorities agreed to demolish the churches over two weeks. But a 700-person mob got there first, and a Muslim man was shot dead after the mob burned down a church that was not on the list.



“It shows the failures of the religious harmony regulation”, Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono told Foreign Policy.



It discriminates minorities, thus making way for the majority, mostly Muslim hard-liners in Indonesia, to pressure the government to close down churches.”



So for the past three years, dozens of Christians from GKI and HKBP have been gathering on Sundays to worship in a plaza near the country’s national monument and presidential palace as a way to protest the local government’s inaction.



“We are doing more than just getting our church building,” church member Bona Sigalingging told the Global Post. “This is our attempt to keep Indonesia a country for all. Indonesia is not a country based on any one religion.”


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - 'Religious harmony' law: 1,000 Indonesian churches closed
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church Nominal Christianity, a mission field for the church

An interview with Lars Dahle, of the Steering Committee of the Lausanne Movement Global Consultation on Nominal Christianity held in Rome.

 
Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation Ruth Valerio: A lifestyle that cares about creation

Are Christians called to make a difference in environmental care? What has creation care to do with "loving our neighbours"? An interview with the Global Advocacy and Influencing Director of Tearfund.

 
Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA Kathy Bryan: Online sex trafficking in the USA

“Prostitution is nobody’s dream,  it’s a very traumatic lifestyle”, says Kathy Bryan, director of the Elevate Academy. She mentors former victims.

 
Christians in politics? Christians in politics?

What is the role of Christians serving in politics? An interview with Auke Minnema, the new General Director of the European Christian Political Movement (ECPM).

 
Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies Michael Ramsden: Communicating the Gospel in today’s societies

RZIM International Director Michael Ramsden responds to questions about the secularisation of Europe, the role of Christians in public leadership and the new ‘culture of victimism’.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow Sharing Jesus with World Cup fans in Moscow

A team of Steiger mission is starting conversations about the gospel in the middst of the football celebration in Russia.

 
Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible Analysing current issues in the light of the Bible

At the 2018 Apologetics Forum in Comarruga (Spain), Michael Ramsden, Pablo Martinez, Ruth Valerio and José de Segovia analysed how society and the Bible approach the issues of personal identity, integrity, sexuality, pop culture, and environmental care.

 
European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga European “Bridges to Inclusion” gathering 2018, in Riga

The network of Christian ministries working for the inclusion of people with disabilities, celebrated its tenth continental meeting in Latvia with the participation of 12 countries.

 

 
VIDEO Video
 
How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility How the loss of universal values led to a loss of civility

Author Bruce Little: “We have moved from a sense of responsibility to ‘my personal rights’”.

 
Being a peacemaker Being a peacemaker

Ken Sande, Founder and President of Relational Wisdom 360, develops a practical systematic theology for pursuing peace and resolving the conflicts of real life. 

 
“No one should have to leave their values at the door” “No one should have to leave their values at the door”

Author Krish Kandiah talks with politician Tim Farron about the Christian faith, politics and secularism.

 
What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader? What are the essential characteristics of a godly leader?

Clinical Pastoral Counsellor Emoke Tapolyai reflect on three characteristics Christians who have been given leadership roles should develop.

 
Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’ Reaching non-Christian ‘Christians’

How can we reach those who call themselves ‘Christians’ but have not experienced a conversion to Christ? Forty missiologists and mission practitioners came together for a Lausanne Movement global consultation in Rome.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.