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» 08/14/2012
INDONESIA
Bogor, after 6 years radical Muslims force closure of Saint John the Baptist Parish Church
by Mathias Hariyadi
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 chief and 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.

The 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.


On 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 07/08/2012 West Java: Catholics targeted by Bogor authorities, "house of prayer" closed down).

In 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.

Finally, the priest denies the charges made by the lunatic fringe of "fomenting religious intolerance". On 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 items. "

 


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See also
02/15/2013 INDONESIA
Authorities appeal for calm after latest attack against churches in South Sulawesi
by Mathias Hariyadi
04/30/2011 INDONESIA
Jakarta: extremist group recruits students to target Christians and introduce shariah
by Mathias Hariyadi
10/22/2004 INDONESIA
Former Indonesian President defends a Catholic church
by Mathias Hariyadi
11/11/2011 INDONESIA
West Java, Muslim and Christian intellectuals against mayor’s attempts to cancel Protestant church
by Mathias Hariyadi
08/27/2010 INDONESIA
Jakarta, Christians, Buddhists and Muslims demand tolerance from extremists
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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