» 08/14/2012, 00.00
Bogor, after 6 years radical Muslims force closure of Saint John the Baptist Parish Church
In a letter, parish priest denounces the groups opposed to the church, forcing its closure. Over 200 faithful of the area gave their consent, but not enough to get the building permit. He adds, a Christian place of worship promotes harmony and provides employment opportunities for all.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The non-issuance of the building permit (IMB) and -
consequently - closure of the church of St. John the Baptist in Parung, in the
regency of Bogor (West Java), are due to the opposition of a local village
the Forum for Interfaith Dialogue. The charges are contained
in a letter written by the parish priest, Fr. Aloysius
Simbol Gaib Pratolo Pr, according to whom "All procedures to be made has been
properly addressed, but we have not yet obtain support from local village chief
of Waru". Added to this, the
priest continues, is the obstruction of the Bogor inter faith forum which
"continues to decline the invitation to sign the document." As
a result the possibility is now remote that the local faithful will have a
place of worship in which to meet and pray.
process for building a church in Indonesia - Catholic or Protestant - is quite
complicated and may take five to ten years to obtain all permits required by
law. The procedure is governed by the Izin Mendirikan Bangunan (IMB), a species of
written protocol that allows for construction to commence and is issued by
local authorities. The story gets more complicated if it is a place
of Christian worship: permission must be obtained from a number of residents in
the area where the building is to be constructed and the local Group for
Interfaith Dialogue. And even if the permission is granted "unspecified
reasons" can come into play that will lead officials to block the
projects. Often, this occurs after pressure from the Muslim community or
radical Islamic movements.
6 August the security officials (the Satpol PP) in Bogor, West Java province, sealed
off the Tulang Kuning "house of prayer" in Waru village, used by more
than 6 thousand Catholics in the parish of St. John the Baptist. The
faithful had used the chapel for six years on a regular basis for weekend
liturgies and major Christian holidays, but in recent times they were being
targeted by the authorities who - on three occasions - ordered the interruption
of worshipp (see AsiaNews
Java: Catholics targeted by Bogor authorities, "house of prayer"
the note the priest explains that the Christian community has gathered hundreds
of signatures authorizing the construction of the building, including those of
13 village chiefs of the sub-district of Parung. What
is missing is the signature of the head of the village of Waru, essential for
the clearance, long promised but never received. "At
least 200 local people - said Fr. Aloysius - have expressed their
consent," but every effort seems useless. The
block on the place of worship, the priest denounces, arrived 20 minutes from
their being granted a letter of extension, which would have granted more time
to obtain all the necessary permits.
the priest denies the charges made by the lunatic fringe of "fomenting religious
the contrary, the presence of a Christian place of worship in the area
"would also benefit the Muslim inhabitants of the area", because it
creates a flow of people and encourages economic and commercial activities such
as "stalls for the sale of food or other
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