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  • » 08/07/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    West Java: Catholics targeted by Bogor authorities, "house of prayer" closed down

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Decision motivated by alleged irregularities in the building permit. The faithful respond: the documents are legal, the town council refuses to grant the permit. And promise to go ahead with regular Sunday services. For some time the area has been the scene of violence and abuse against minorities, especially Christians.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - With the pretext of irregularities in building permits, public safety officials (the Satpol PP) in Bogor, West Java province, yesterday sealed off a "house of prayer" used by over 6 thousand Catholics from the parish of St. John the Baptist. For six years, the faithful have regularly used the building for weekend liturgies and those of the main Christian festivals, but had recently come under fire from authorities - three times - ordering them to stop all worship. The Catholic community has deliberately ignored the warnings, believing the closure order related IMB specious and counting on the legitimate right to religious freedom.

    The process for building a church in Indonesia - Catholic or Protestant - is quite complicated and may take five to ten years to obtain all permits required by law. The procedure is governed by the Izin Mendirikan Bangunan (IMB), a species of written protocol that allows for construction to commence and is issued by local authorities.  The story gets more complicated if it is a place of Christian worship: permission must be obtained from a number of residents in the area where the building is to be constructed and the local Group for Interfaith Dialogue. And even if the permission is granted "unspecified reasons" can come into play that will lead officials to block the projects. Often, this occurs after pressure from the Muslim community or radical Islamic movements.

    The "house of prayer" is situated in Tulang Kuning, the village of Waru, in the Parung sub-district, Bogor regency. Yesterday a group of Satpol PP officers, led by Comerain La Ode, said the forced closure was "for the next seven days" and warned that "if the site is still used to pray in" teams would intervene to "demolish the building" .

    However, local AsiaNews sources report that the Catholic community will not be intimidated and intend to hold their regular celebrations next weekend. "We have no alternative - said Fr. Gaib Pr, pastor of St. John the Baptist - but to gather in this place of prayer." He added that Catholics have fulfilled all the ritual procedures for obtaining building permits, but for years the Bogor administration refuses to grant any clearances.

    Moreover, the authorities of the municipality of Bogor are not new to incidents of abuse and violence against other religions, particularly the Protestant Christian community that refers to the GKI Yasmin Church (YC), long a target of Mayor Diani Budiarto and his zealous officials, who have recently closed their place of worship on the same pretext. In the past, also, the area was the scene of anti-Christian violence especially during major holidays such as Christmas or Easter (see AsiaNews 23/12/2012 West Java: Islamic extremist groups threaten Catholics, Christmas celebrations at risk).

     

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    See also

    17/01/2012 INDONESIA
    Yasmin church: radical Islamists attack two members of parliament during Sunday celebration
    Two members of the Islamic party and the Democratic Party pkb PDI-P who were participating in a ceremony Sunday with the congregation of the Church Yasmin were insulted and verbally assaulted. The congregation has had to interrupt the liturgy, and move elsewhere, but even there the radicals have prevented the celebration. The inertia of the central government and the complicity of the mayor.

    23/09/2016 20:29:00 INDONESIA
    Islamic radicals in Makassar tell Protestant church it does not have the right to a building permit

    Ethnic Toraja attend the parish church. Pastor says it has “proper papers” and saw the mayor visit.



    24/03/2011 INDONESIA
    Yasmin Church: the mayor of Bogor revokes permit for church
    The official reason is false signatures on application, but it is believed to be an excuse. Christians and rights groups denounce a decision contrary to the law and a political will to appease Islamic extremist groups.

    30/01/2012 INDONESIA
    Yasmin Church celebrates Sunday Mass in front of presidential palace in Jakarta
    Hundreds of members of a congregation denied the right to build its own church in Bogor demonstrated in the capital yesterday, calling on the president to do something to uphold the law. They complain about repeated acts of intimidation by radical Muslims, backed by Bogor mayor Diani Budiarto.

    07/03/2016 16:56:00 INDONESIA
    Bekasi: Islamic extremists demonstrate against the construction of a Catholic church

    Hundreds of people come into the streets against the St Clara community. Some protesters even tried to attack the site of the future church, but police kept them back. Graffiti saying ‘No church construction allowed’ appeared near the site. Local authorities give Catholics a green light to go ahead.





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