» 03/25/2014, 00.00
West Java, Islamists block construction of a Catholic Church
Fundamentalists target Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Cibubur, Bekasi regency. The local court points to danger of “sectarian violence", gives in to intimidation and stops the project. The priest presents all of the necessary permits and confirms: "The construction will continue, so far 70% of the structure built".
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Under
pressure and intimidation from Islamic extremists, a civil court in West Java
revoked the building permit - the infamous Izin
Mendirikan Bangunan, IMB - for the Catholic Church of St. Stanislaus Kostka
in Cibubur, Bekasi regency. During
the hearing, a crowd outside the courtroom threatened the judges, shouting that
their demands be met. The
president of the court Edi Firmansyah decided to revoke that permission to
avoid episodes of "sectarian violence" between different religious
is just the latest episode in a long series of violations and abuses of
religious freedom, which have characterized the recent history of Indonesia since
the end of the Suharto regime. The
phenomena have increased in recent years under the
Yudhoyono presidency. The Head
of State is accused of being overly soft with Islamic extremists.
Judges of the Pengadilan Tata Usaha Negara (PTUN) -
the local administrative court - revoked the permit issued in 2012 by the Bekasi
mayor Rachmat Effendy. The
ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought by Islamic extremist groups in
Jatisampurna in a class action with other groups from several other cities in West
The new church was built under
the patronage of the parish of Saint Servatius of Tongeren , in Kampung Sawah ,
approximately 10 km from the area of construction. Speaking to AsiaNews, the parish priest Fr. Rudianto
explains that he followed all the legal procedures to obtain the IMB: "All procedures were properly done and
all parties were also involved. We have
all recorded videos to prove that nothing wrong or 'illicit' gestures have been
also accuses extremist groups, which have opposed the construction of the
church of "hostile acts" against the Christian community, fomenting riots
and divisions in society.
Local sources said that there is
a progressive increase of tensions in the area, with dozens of extremists ready
to "seal" the construction site, the building is still under
construction and about 70% of the overall structure has been completed, as
confirmed by the parish priest Fr . Rudianto . The
project will go ahead, he adds, because the judgment that annulled the IMB has
not imposed the halting of the project.
Indonesia is the most
populous Muslim nation in the world. Increasingly however, it has become the
scene of attacks or episodes of intolerance against minorities, whether they
are Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or belong to other faiths. Aceh is the only Indonesian province where Sharia
(Islamic law) is enforced, yet, in many other areas of the country, a more
radical and extreme vision of Islam is spreading among ordinary Indonesians.
Certain rules such as the
infamous building permit have been used to prevent the construction of
Christian places of worship or stop construction already underway, as was the
case for the Yasmin Church in West Java. Catholics are a small
minority of about seven million, or 3 per cent of the population. Although the
country's constitution recognises religious freedom, Catholics have been the
victims of violence and abuse.
Bishop of West Java: dialogue on the church of Saint Mary’s. Or legal action
Bishop Johannes Pujasumarta Pr, Bishop of Bandung, explains that a "constructive dialogue" can achieve a "good solution". The prelate promises a battle and does not exclude the possibility of legal action. Among the reasons that have blocked the construction of the church are protests of "special groups" in the area.
After 40 years a Catholic Church in West Java is forced to close
Christ’s Peace Church has been active since 1968 now local Muslims are contesting the use of the buildings for religious purposes. With the backing of police and local politicians the extremists have won their battle: the parish does not have the legal permit and therefore must close down. For years the church had sought to obtain the permit without success, gaining only a staunch refusal from the government.
South Sumatra, hundreds of Islamists block the construction of a Protestant church
An armed mob has occupied a plot of land owned by the Christian community Huria Kristen Batak Protestan. Raid motivated by lack of building permit. The leadership of the Hkbp lodges IMB application in 2011, to no avail . The Minister for Religious Affairs orders the termination of the project.
West Java: Islamic authorities shut down church, Christians celebrate in the street
Bogor mayor closes the church of an important local Christian group, banning all its activities. The faithful protest and take their faith to the streets. Rights groups issue official protest.
West Java: another Christian church attacked
Shouting ‘Allah u Akbar’, a group of men storm a church Sunday in Bandung in West Java. The incident confirms a trend involving many attempts to suppress religious freedom in the predominantly Muslim country. A survey by a British human rights group shows that West Java is a hotbed of Indonesia’s anti-Christian movements.
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
On “Hong Kong sectors” supposedly "against Francis"
John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
The "enemies" of Pope Francis
The charge made against AsiaNews that we are against the Pope and in favor of Putin, is an opportunity to outline what motivates our commitment to evangelization. And also to ask for greater professionalism from those who write about the Pope. The Pope does not need public defenders. Facilitating dialogue between "conservatives" and "progressives" to realize the Council and concern ourselves with the world so that it encounters Jesus Christ. Christ’s “enemies” were also his "friends."
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