05/03/2012, 00.00
INDONESIA
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West Java, a mosque beside the church, a solution to the Yasmin Church dispute

by Mathias Hariyadi
This is the proposal that has emerged during the meeting in Jakarta between the parties interested in mediation. The Muslim place of worship, together with the Christian one, reflecting harmony as already is the case in the capital. However, the Mayor of Bogor claims to have advanced this solution in September without receiving any answers; Christian leaders in favor, expect a formal proposal.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto has put forward a proposal that would be a "victory for all", to put an end to the dispute over the Yasmin Church: build a mosque next to the place of Christian worship, following the example of Central Jakarta, where - side by side - there are the Catholic Cathedral and the Istiqlal mosque. The project emerged yesterday during a meeting of the committee set up to achieve an agreement. The mayor of the municipality of West Java filed the solution in recent months and is still waiting for a response from the faithful of the Protestant community. The Christians respond that they have received no "official" proposal, but stressed they support the idea in principle to put an end to a controversy that has dragged on for over three years and has caused riots and sectarian tensions.

Yesterday in Central Jakarta the Joint Committee, which unites the two sides currently at odds over the Yasmin Church (YC) in Bogor, West Java province of Indonesia, held its second meeting. It is supported by the Presidential Council Body (Wantimpres), which aims to end the "war" taking place around the Protestant Christian place of worship. The headquarters of Wantimpres - located next to the Presidential Palace in Jakarta - hosted the meeting, which was held under the leadership of human rights activist and prominent lawyer Albert Hasibuan. And it is the lawyer to reveal the details of the proposal: the Mayor of Bogor, absent from the meeting, is reported to have sent a letter in which he proposes to build a mosque next to the church. The solution was shown to participants at the meeting yesterday, among whom there was a delegation of YC, some members of Wantimpres and two army generals, representing the Council of National Defense who have "endorsed" the solution proposal from Diani Budiarto.

In the letter, the Mayor states that he advanced the solution last September, but "Yasmin Church has rejected that proposal." The leaders of the Christian community, interviewed by AsiaNews, immediately denied this.  They confirmed receiving notice of the proposal by the national council of defense, "but we have not received a formal processes of agreement between the representatives of local government." We would support the proposal for a mosque next to the church - says Bona Sigalingging, YC spokesperson - but we have not yet received a formal agreement. "However, for the parties involved in mediating the step forward yesterday is" good news "for the future, as confirmed the senior officer of the Defence Council Junianto Haroen.

The Yasmin Church, a Protestant church, is the scene of an apparent violation of the law and religious freedom perpetrated by the local mayor Diani Budiarto who, regardless of the dictates of a constitutional court ruling in favor of Christians, has for years prevented construction from going ahead. The building was designed according to the criteria established by law and has the building permit (IMB) required for places of prayer. Last October, the mayor deployed security forces against the faithful, who can no longer use the place of worship and can not even pray in the streets.

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