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  • » 12/27/2010, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    West Java: Catholics celebrate Christmas Mass in a parking lot

    Mathias Hariyadi

    An order by Bogor Regency prohibits members of the Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church from engaging in any public activity, ostensibly because they lack a proper place of worship. Muslim extremist groups increasingly threaten Indonesia’s Christians.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Hundreds of members of Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Parung (West Java) celebrated Mass under the sun and in a tent set up in the parking lot of the Marsudirini Elementary School. Bogor Regency chief’s prohibition of Christmas celebration was thus not repealed despite repeated attempts by Tulang Kuning Church leaders to negotiate with local authorities.

    The latter justified their decision citing the lack of a permit to build a church. Without it, the local parish is not allowed to perform any public functions even on its own land.

    According to Indonesia’s constitution however, no one has the right to prohibit any religious community from practicing its faith and celebrating its rites and services. Yet with the rising influence of Islamic radicals, the constitution has been repeatedly violated as local authorities kowtow to Muslim extremists and show greater hostilities towards Christians.

    The Parish of Saint John the Baptist has at least 3,000 members. In April of this year, dozens of Muslim extremists threatened those from the community in Tulang Kuning, preventing them from celebrating Easter Mass.

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    See also

    06/04/2010 INDONESIA
    Indonesian Christians turn to administrative courts to obtain permits to build churches
    Court rulings help Christian communities build their churches. Administrative courts tend to overturn decisions by municipal authorities taken to appease Muslim extremists who want to stop the construction of churches and other Christian places of worship. Extremist mobs stop Good Friday services in West Java.

    11/07/2011 INDONESIA
    Muslim threats against Yasmin Church in West Java continue
    The faithful still have to pray by the roadside after their church was shut down. Radical Muslim groups continue to disrupt their activities and issue threats against them. The mayor of Bogor still refuses to accept a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court upholding the Church’s right to build its own places of worship.

    24/05/2010 INDONESIA
    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.

    28/11/2007 INDONESIA
    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.

    02/11/2007 INDONESIA
    Small theocratic fiefdoms emerging in Bogor and Padang
    The leader of the “heretical” sect al-Qiyadah surrenders to police. Debate inflames opinions in Indonesia. Some Indonesians fear the growing influence exercised by Muslim religious leaders on public life and warn against small “theocratic fiefdoms.” Police actions against the sect have in fact been carried out without input from proper civilian and judicial authorities.



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