10/03/2016, 09.27
INDONESIA
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South Jakarta mayor closes Protestant church over "lack of permit"

by Mathias Hariyadi

Tri Kurniadi explained that the documents allow the construction of a home-office and not a place of worship. The decision came after strong protests by local residents.


 

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The Protestant church of Pasar Munggu will suspend all religious activity because it lacks of the building permit from the authorities. This was decided by the mayor of South Jakarta in a communique to the faithful of the Batak Karo community. A letter sent by the local inter-department explains that the lack of building permit (IMB) is sufficient reason for the cessation of religious activity.

Tri Kurniadi, the mayor, said that the decision was taken after strong protests of the inhabitants of Pasar Minggu, who demonstrated against the construction of the place of worship. He explained that Christians have an IMB, but it refers to the construction of a home-office and not to the elevation of a church.

The process for the construction of a church in Indonesia - Catholic or Protestant - is complicated and may take five to ten years to get all the permissions required. The procedure is governed by Mendirikan Bangunan (IMB), a written protocol that allows for construction to commence and is issued by local authorities.

Protests against the opening of a church were held a few weeks ago also in Makassar, in South Sulawesi. On that occasion, the pastor proved that he had all the necessary documents and the place of worship remained open.

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