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  • » 05/28/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Indonesian Christians: Pentecost in front of the Presidential Palace, for religious freedom

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The faithful of the Yasmin Church (YC) and Hkbp Filadelfia celebrated the feast outside the offices of the Head of State. YC Spokesman to Yudhoyono: Open your eyes and take measures to ensure the practice of worship. Also critical to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who in Geneva depicts a country where harmony and tolerance reigns.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The faithful of the Yasmin Church (YC) in Bogor and members of the Hkbp Filadelfia Protestant community celebrated the feast of Pentecost, yesterday in Jakarta, in front of the Presidential Palace. The Christians gathered near the home of the head of state of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono because deprived of their places of worship: both churches, in fact, have been closed by local authorities and areas are the focus of a litigation in progress that has been ongoing for years. And to no avail, so far, the pronouncements of the Supreme Court which established the right of religious minority - Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world - to use the places of worship because they hold rightful ownership.

    The Christian community celebrated the feast of Pentecost outdoors under a blazing sun, not far from the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta. For the second time in a few weeks, the faithful have chosen the home of Yudhoyono as a symbolic place of protest to ask for "justice" on places of worship (see AsiaNews 16/04/2012 Jakarta: Hundreds of Christians ask President for justice on places of worship). Last April's event was attended by the faithful of the Gki Yasmin Church (YC), the Bogor regency in West Java, and Hkbp Filadelfia Christians, in the regency of Bekasi also in West Java. For three years the YC faithful can not access the place of worship, sealed at the behest of local authorities and the Mayor Diani Budiarto, who has denounced alleged irregularities in the release of the IBM, the permit to build places of worship in Indonesia. A similar situation to that of the Hkbp Filadelfia faithful, who have fought for years in vain against the officials of Bekasi.

    The faithful have also condemned the intervention of Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa at the United Nations Council for Human Rights in Geneva (Switzerland). The Indonesian Government head of the diplomacy, according to the Protestant community, should tell the "real" situation in the country regarding religious freedom and practice of religion for minorities, including Christians. Conversely, instead he described a situation of harmony, tolerance and good relations between denominations.

    The lack of a place of worship for the Yasmin Church and Hkbp Filadelfia shows that extremist groups are more powerful than the religious minorities, and that the radical movements have the support of local authorities, who do not apply the law, but follow the directives of Islamic fundamentalists. YC spokeswoman Bona Sigalingging spoke at the event strongly calling for "the President to open his eyes and take action." Her appeal was raised by dozens of groups and human rights activists, including Bungaran Saragih former Minister of Agriculture during the years of President Megawati.

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    See also

    24/03/2011 INDONESIA
    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.

    17/01/2012 INDONESIA
    Yasmin church: radical Islamists attack two members of parliament during Sunday celebration
    Two members of the Islamic party and the Democratic Party pkb PDI-P who were participating in a ceremony Sunday with the congregation of the Church Yasmin were insulted and verbally assaulted. The congregation has had to interrupt the liturgy, and move elsewhere, but even there the radicals have prevented the celebration. The inertia of the central government and the complicity of the mayor.

    16/04/2012 INDONESIA
    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.

    24/08/2010 INDONESIA
    West Java, Christians celebrate in the streets demanding freedom of religion
    The Sunday service of Yasmin Church was held in Bogor. Islamic extremists put pressure on the civil authority that closed their place of worship, even if legal. The liturgical services are held in the streets since April 10.

    17/11/2011 INDONESIA
    West Java: moderate Muslims support Yasmin Church against the fundamentalist
    The controversy over the construction of a Protestant church denied a permit by mayor continues, despite the Supreme Court ruling. Both parties seek support from different Muslim organizations.



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