» 09/11/2012, 00.00
Christian leader cries shame as Minister, Mayor and Islamists close the Yasmin Church
Meeting decides to expel the Protestant community, despite regular permits and Constitutional Court judgment. YC leaders excluded from meeting and accuse Minister for Interior. A complaint to the police, supported by the Indonesian Churches and human rights activists.
(AsiaNews) - "It's shameful" denounces Bona Sigalingging, spokesperson for
the GKI Yasmin Church, reacting to the closed-door meeting between the Minister
of Internal Affairs of Indonesia, the leaders of the city of Bogor, West Java,
and the leader of an Islamic extremist movement. The
gathering has resulted in the expulsion of the Protestant community from their
place of worship, despite the possession of regular building permits and a
judgment of the Constitutional Court. In
response, the leaders of the Christian movement have filed a formal complaint
to the courts against the local administration and the mayor Diani Budiarto.
meeting was held on September 8 and was atteneded by Gamawan Fauzi, Indonesian
Minister of the Interior, Iman Ahmad, head of the Islamic extremist group
Forkami, and the mayor of Bogor Diani Budiarto. The
minister's decision has caused confusion within the Christian community, in
addition to being excluded from the bargaining table, the faithful have had to
passively endure the will of both parties - the local administration and the extremist
movement Forkami - who more
than any other have "persecuted" the religious minority in recent
by AsiaNews Bona Sigalingging, YC spokesperson,
branded the decision to invite the leader of Forkami as "shameful". This
is a wellknown "radical Islamic group," he adds, that "has
fueled tension" and again "has succeeded in having us forcibly removed
from our church." The
YC leader notes that the decision to close the place of worship is contrary to
the judgments of the Constitutional Court and the Ombudsman and that they have
filed a complaint with the police. This
latest appeal to the courts of justice is supported by the Synod of Indonesian
Churches (PGI) and the Working Group on Human Rights, which speaks of
"double face" of the government in terms of religious freedom.
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.
In late May, the
faithful of the Yasmin Church celebrated Pentecost in Jakarta in front of the
presidential palace. The
Christians gathered near the residence of the head of state of Indonesia Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono because deprived of their places of worship. For
three years, they have not been able to go to church, sealed at the behest of
local authorities and the Mayor Diani Budiarto, who denounce alleged
irregularities in the release of IBM.
West Java: Moderate Muslims defend the Yasmin Church's Christmas
Hundreds of members of Banser, a paramilitary group, moderate; have protected the Christmas celebrations of the GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor against the threat of radical Islam. Their presence has also been noted in central Java, to protect churches.
Bogor: “war” against Yasmin Church as the faithful pray in streets
The city mayor tells Christians to accept the transfer of their church. The pro-Islamist party politician accuses Christians of seeking open confrontation. Church members counter that they have the backing of a Supreme Court sentence, and claim the right of freedom of religion. Moderate Muslim leader supports the Yasmin Church.
Jakarta: Hundreds of Christians ask President for justice on places of worship
"Peaceful" protest launched by the faithful of the Yasmin Church and Hkbp Philadelphia joined by human rights activists and parliamentarians. The faithful ask for enforcement of law on protection of religious freedom. Protests provoked by the seizure of places of worship by local officials and inertia of institutions.
Bogor: offer to move church may be "a fatal trap"
The Council of Yasmin Church rejects the Interior Ministry offer to find three alternative sites for the construction of the church opposed by the Mayor of Bogor. After the Supreme Court ruling, in favor of Yasmins Church, "The Ministry of Interior must apply the law, not the contrary."
West Java, a mosque beside the church, a solution to the Yasmin Church dispute
This is the proposal that has emerged during the meeting in Jakarta between the parties interested in mediation. The Muslim place of worship, together with the Christian one, reflecting harmony as already is the case in the capital. However, the Mayor of Bogor claims to have advanced this solution in September without receiving any answers; Christian leaders in favor, expect a formal proposal.
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