7 May, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/18/2012
INDONESIA
Nine churches and six Buddhist temples shut down under Islamist pressure in Banda Aceh
by Mathias Hariyadi
For the city's deputy mayor, the buildings were not being properly used. They lacked the proper building permit and were used for "unlawful" purposes. She pledged greater monitoring of minority activities. Local sources say that the crackdown is the result of threats from extremist groups. FPI now wants other cities and towns to do the same.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Authorities in Banda Aceh, capital of the Aceh Special Territory, ordered the closure of nine Christian home churches and six Buddhist prayer houses for alleged irregularities in their building permit. According to Deputy Mayor Hajjah Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal, the buildings were illegal because they lacked the right permit. Under the law, private homes cannot be used "for religious ceremonies or functions."

"Aceh is a special territory that enforces Sharia," she said and home churches violate the law because they lack the appropriate building permit (Izin Mendirikan Bangunan in Indonesian).

The issue is more complicated in the case of Christian places of worship because the latter require the agreement of a certain number of local residents and that of the local interfaith dialogue group. Under the pressure of radical Muslim groups, permits are often denied.

Deputy Mayor Djamal also wants the authorities to monitor the activities of Buddhist and Christian communities to ensure that their services are performed in the right places. This is necessary, in her view, to "maintain interfaith harmony." At the same time, "we shall not issue any new permit for other churches or vihara (Buddhist temples)."

Local Muslim extremists welcomed the decision. Yusuf Al-Qardhawy, head of the Aceh branch of the Islamic Defence Front (FPI), called on other jurisdictions to follow Banda Aceh, enforce Islamic law and stop any non-Muslim worship activity that is not approved.

He said the situation would be monitored constantly to ensure that rules are respected. Local sources note that the municipal order shutting Buddhist and Christian places of worship follows a complaint filed by Islamists concerning an "improper" use of buildings.

The province of Aceh, the westernmost of the archipelago of Indonesia, is also the only one which is subject to Sharia. Compliance is ensured by the 'morality police,' a special force that punishes violations in dress and behaviour.

In the past, a relative calm and religious harmony between the Muslim majority and "foreigners," members of various non-Islamic faiths, prevailed under the leadership of former guerrilla leader, now Governor Irwandy Yusuf.

More recently the situation has changed however. Attacks against religious minorities have started and fundamentalists has gained more power and freedom of action.

In last April's elections, Zaini Abdullah, a former guerrilla leader who lived in exile in Sweden, won promising to fight corruption and impose Islamic law.

The strict application of Sharia was one of the conditions separatist rebels imposed on Jakarta to end their armed struggle.

As a result of a recent spike in sectarian tensions, the area saw violence and attacks against Christian communities, which led to the closure of places of worship on the order of the authorities claiming that they lacked proper building permits.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
05/18/2005 INDONESIA
Jakarta lifts Aceh emergency rule
12/26/2006 INDONESIA
Tsunami: Reconstruction in Aceh and Nias Island blocked by corruption
by Benteng Reges
01/05/2005 INDONESIA
Famine haunts the population of Simeuleu Island
by Mathias Hariyadi
10/13/2008 INDONESIA
Aceh gives a hero’s welcome to former ‘Enemy Number 1’ Hasan Tiro
by Mathias Hariyadi
03/04/2005 INDIA
No government aid for Christian Dalit in 2005 budget
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
VIETNAM – VATICAN
Vietnam today, 40 years after the fall of Saigon
by Lee NguyenOn 30 April 1975, North Vietnamese forces seized Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, thus ending the Vietnam War. Forty years later, the country has become a medium-size economic "tiger" in Asia and the world, a country with a capitalist economy behind a Communist facade, under a regime still bent on exerting tight social controls. There are some positive signs for the Church, but also acts of persecution, bans, and censorship, especially against bishops and priests. Yet, the country really needs the reconciliation Christians can bring to heal still present wounds and divisions.
IRAQ – MIDDLE EAST
For Chaldean Patriarch, state secularism and religious freedom are the practical response to fundamentalist barbarism
by Louis Raphael I Sako*In Beirut, Mar Sako met the leaders of the Syriac Catholic and Syriac Orthodox Churches. Together, they agreed to a major conference to discuss the situation of Christians in the Middle East. Past massacres and today's tragedies are a lesson on which to base real coexistence. Reflecting upon the issues, His Beatitude shares his thoughts with AsiaNews readers.
NEPAL – ASIA
Nepal earthquake: Church and international community coming to the aid of survivorsThe Italian Bishops’ Conference has pledged € 3 million in emergency medical assistance. The South Korean Church has allocated funds for the displaced. India, Pakistan and China are already on the ground. A Chinese airline has hiked ticket fares to evacuate its nationals. Israel is selective in its help, airlifting 25 children of surrogate mothers and gay couples.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.