11/17/2011, 00.00
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West Java: moderate Muslims support Yasmin Church against the fundamentalist

by Mathias Hariyadi
The controversy over the construction of a Protestant church denied a permit by mayor continues, despite the Supreme Court ruling. Both parties seek support from different Muslim organizations.
Bogor (AsiaNews) - The controversy over Yasmin Church has entered a new phase, both parties are now looking more powerful protection, and the involvement of religious institutions in Indonesia, to get the support needed to win this battle without end on the freedom of practice faith in the country. Yesterday, the Mayor of Bogor (West Java), Diani Budiarto, who denied the church’s construction permit against a court ruling, visited the center of the powerful Islamic religious body known as Mui, for guidance and advice. The local newspapers report that it was the Mui to convoke Budiarto to its headquarters in Jakarta, which the Indonesian public has read as an attempt to win the powerful support of the most influential body with regard to moral issues and Islamic teaching.

After the meeting, behind closed doors, the MUI issued a statement urging the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry for Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Political Affairs and the Indonesian police to deal with the subject as soon as possible. The question is: why did MUI convoke Budiarto alone for consultations, and failed to call the other side? The move, according to many, was certainly orchestrated by the mayor, in an attempt to gain MUI support. Budiarto's move to seek MUI support was motivated by the fact that other more political players say they are "freezing" their support for him. The former president Megawati of the Nationalist Democratic Party (PDIP) and Golkar, the Nationalist Party have urged their members to suspend their support for Budiarto, only the Islamist Justice party (PKS), almost fundamentalist, still supports him, stating that the construction of the church was blocked because there was a fraud on the collection of signatures required to get permission.

The MUI has placed emphasis on the problem of building permits. Speaking to media after meeting with the head of the MUI, the mayor accused the directors Yasmin Church (GKI) of not cooperating to defuse the case. "They have always refused to participate in the discussion forum, but have always insisted that the Supreme Court ruling on building permits be applied," said Budiarto. The argument verges on the ridiculous because from the start Yasmin Church (GKI) has always been open to a dialogue to resolve the problem. Recently, one of the directors told AsiaNews: "We were urged to bring the issue to court, and we did. But when it became clear that the Supreme Court was going to annul the decision to revoke the building permit, the mayor has changed his. "

While Budiarto went to Mui, some top GKI representatives paid a courtesy visit to the largest and most moderate Indonesian Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), for consultations. The spokeswoman for Yasmin Church, Bona Sigalingging, said that the visit was to gain support and protection. "NU is the best place for us to find refuge after the violent and provocative actions carried out by persons unfriendly in Bogor," she said. Prof. Aqil Siradj of NU said: "After speaking with GKI representatives, the NU position is very clear: everyone must respect the law." Prof. Aqil Siradj recommended Yasmin Chirch discuss the problem and seek support at the Bogor branch of the NU against the Islamic fundamentalists opposed to the construction of the church.

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