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» 09/17/2010
INDONESIA
Jakarta to review laws on religious freedom to guarantee Christian rights
by Mathias Hariyadi
The authorities announce changes to a joint ministerial decree ((nº8 of 2006 and nº9 of 2009) after minorities engage in protest following the latest violent episodes against the Christian community. West Java governor pledges a “permanent” place of worship for the HKBP Church and its members.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian authorities will review the laws that regulate freedom of religion in the country. They will especially vet a controversial joint ministerial decree (nº8 of 2006 and nº9 of 2009), Senior Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto said at the end of day marked by street protests and a torchlight procession against recent anti-Christian violence.

“The existing decree will be revised,” Djoko Suyanto said. In its existing form, it delegates the power to issue building permits for places of worship to individual regencies (districts). This has led to discrimination towards Christians who face increasing difficulties when they apply because the law is enforced by local authorities, often controlled by Muslim extremists. Muslims, on the other hand, do not face such problems.

The debate over religious freedom in Indonesia was revived by recent episodes of anti-Christian violence. Last Monday, unknown assailants stabbed Rev Afian Sihombing, a Protestant clergyman who heads a Protestant community in East Pondonk Bekasi Regency. He was attacked along with Rev Luspida Simanjutak, head of the Huria Batak Kristen Protestan (HKBP). She too was injured, to the face, the head and the back.

Yesterday, hundreds of human rights activists took part in a torchlight procession, spontaneously joined by thousands of people.

Inavah Wahid, daughter of the late President Abdurrahman Wahid, said, “We are all one nation and we strongly and endlessly struggle for the unity of the nation.”  Now, events show that the “situation is getting worse” and that “the state appears to be powerless and unable to perform its duties.”

In order to defuse tensions that are mounting in some sectors of civil society, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan told HKBP members that they would have a “permanent” place to worship.

Bekasi Mayor Mochtar Muhammad said that city hall would provide them with two possible venues for their Church: a 2.500 m2 lot owned by the city administration or a 2,000 m2 lot owned by a private company that the city would buy for the Church. This way, according to the mayor, “security would be guaranteed.”


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See also
09/15/2010 INDONESIA
Muslim leader detained in anti-Christian attack
by Mathias Hariyadi
09/14/2010 INDONESIA
Muslim organisations condemn attack against Protestant clergyman
by Mathias Hariyadi
09/13/2010 INDONESIA
Protestant pastor stabbed, religious freedom attacked
by Mathias Hariyadi
08/19/2010 INDONESIA
Bekasi Christians not intimidated by pressures from Islamic extremists
07/29/2010 INDONESIA
Christians in Bekasi forced to celebrate in the open air under police protection
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
CHINA - VATICAN
BREAKING NEWS: Chinese police seize two priests in Mutanjiang
by Bernardo Cervellera
CHINA-VATICAN
Nothing to toast between China and the Vatican: Beijing wants complete control
by Bernardo CervelleraFor the Global Times (the People's Daily) China does not like the "Vietnamese model" of agreed episcopal ordinations. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s embarrassment in front of the Holy See’s countless efforts. China wants the Vatican to accept all excommunicated bishops and to keep silent on those who are underground and imprisoned. The case of Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang. Without religious freedom, diplomatic relations are pointless. The work of mission and the unity of Catholics in China. A task for Xi Jinping: implement the anti-corruption campaign in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Patriotic Association, which have grown rich over the decades on the backs of Christians.
VATICAN
Pope: Christians are persecuted and the world tries to hide itDuring the Angelus, Francis prayed for the victims of today's church massacres in Pakistan. Before the Marian prayer, he said that God "loves us, really love us, and loves us very much! This is simplest expression that sums up the whole Gospel, faith, and theology. God loves us freely and boundlessly." The pontiff also spoke about typhoon victims in Vanuatu. "I pray for the dead, the wounded and the homeless. I thank all those who reacted immediately to bring relief and aid." The pope also made a plea on behalf of persecuted Christians. "May the persecution against Christians, which the world is trying to hide, come to an end, and may there be peace."

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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