» 04/14/2010, 00.00
Bogor: Islamic extremists stronger than the Supreme Court, Protestant church closed
Two judgments of the Administrative Court of Bandung and the Supreme Court had ruled that the place of worship had necessary construction permits. The authorities ordered the closure, because of fundamentalist protests. From January 10 Protestant churches and one Catholic have halted celebrations.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The authorities of the regency of Bogor, West Java, have imposed a blockade on religious services - with no advance notice - on the faithful of the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI). A member of the community, also known by the nickname Yasmin Church, said the decision "was taken by the [district] head of Bogor. However, the closure of the place of Christian worship violates two recent judgments of the Administrative Court of Bandung (PTUN) and the Indonesian Supreme Court.
On 10 April Bogor authorities ordered the closure of the church, accepting the claims of Muslim extremists and pro-Islamic parties. To justify the measure, the "complaint" of a fringe fundamentalist that speaks of fraud in collecting signatures needed to obtain a building permit. An escalation of protests by the Islamic extremist wing, the leaders of the administration have sealed the building.
The decision of authorities in Bogor regency, however, not only violates the religious freedom of Christians. It, in fact, ignores two recent judgments of the Administrative Court of Bandung (PTUN) and the Indonesian Supreme Court. The two bodies of Justice, addressed the faithful of the GKI, have determined that the petition was made according to law in July 2006, the church obtained by lawful means the IMB and the faithful have the right to use it.
The process for building a church in Indonesia - Catholic or Protestant - as for all buildings is regulated by the Izin Mendirikan Bangunan (IMB), a sort of written resolution of the local authorities that allows the opening of a construction. The story gets more complicated if it is a place of Christian worship: besides taking years, it must be cleared by at least 60 local residents in the area where the building is to be constructed and the local Group for interfaith dialogue. Even with permission, often the construction is stopped, and the permit is revoked under pressure from the Islamic fundamentalist wing of the local governments, an expression of religious fanaticism.
The decision of authorities in Bogor regency, however, not only violates the religious freedom of Christians. It, in fact, ignores two recent judgments of the Administrative Court of Bandung (PTUN) and the Indonesian Supreme Court. The two bodies of Justice, addressing the concerns of the faithful of the GKI, determined that the petition was made according to law, in July 2006, the church obtained by lawful means the IMB and the faithful have the right to use it.
From January 10 last at least 10 Protestant and one Catholic church were forced to halt services because of protests by Islamic extremists. The last case occurred on the occasion of Good Friday, in the sub-district Parung when a mob blocked the rites of the vigil. The faithful had to move to three different places, finally coming together in a "restaurant" to pray in safety.
West Java authorities yield to Islamic pressure and close down seven Protestant churches
Cianjur district chiefs close down seven places of worship over alleged irregularities in building permits (IMB). The IMB dates back to 2006, but the churches have been active since the end of the 70s . Christian leaders: some of the faithful have moved for "security reasons", for fear of attacks.
Bekasi, anti-Christian persecution continues. A Protestant church targeted
A crowd of 200 Muslims launches intimidating messages at the faithful and prohibits the use of a local church for Sunday services. The attackers claim to be residents of the area. Protestant pastor denies this: “definitely strangers". From 2009 to now at least 17 Christian churches targeted.
Yasmin Church: the mayor of Bogor revokes permit for church
The official reason is false signatures on application, but it is believed to be an excuse. Christians and rights groups denounce a decision contrary to the law and a political will to appease Islamic extremist groups.
Bekasi: Islamic groups against the Protestant church, it promotes proselytizing
At least 16 extremist movements have ordered an end to the charitable activities and worship. They attempt to hide "forced conversions". Leaders of the Protestant Synod: unfounded accusations. In 2009 over 200 cases of violations of religious freedom. The Catholic church of Saint Mary wins the legal battle against the authorities of Purwakarta.
The Supreme Court annuls Islamic law
Archbishop of Lahore: "A great decision, the law went against personal freedom". A Muslim lawyer told AsiaNews: "It was a wrong law, promulgated to make fundamentalists heads of the province".
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
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John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
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