Persecution Fridays – Indonesia – Officials Close Church

July 29, 2011 at 10:35 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Indonesia: Officials Close Church

A church in Bogor that has been attacked six times since 2008 was recently ordered to stop all religious activities or risk inviting “the community and others to react in a way that could spark a potential disturbance.” But church members have refused to obey the local government’s demands.

The Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) in Bogor, West Java, near Jakarta, has had an ongoing dispute with Islamist groups and local authorities. In 2008, the city revoked the church’s building permit and sealed the church building. Since then, the congregation has conducted weekly services outside the church, prompting some neighbors to complain of a public disruption. Local community members, backed by Islamist groups, have held multiple protests against the church. And even though the Supreme Court ordered Bogor city authorities to re-open the building in December 2010, it has remained sealed. Local authorities say they are afraid opening the church would spark social unrest.

In March and April 2009, seven members of GKI were beaten near the church. And in December 2010, about 1,000 police officers were deployed to the church during a series of protests by Bogor residents. The protesters prevented church members from entering the church, and some of the members were intimidated and verbally abused by protesters.

On July 2, 2011, the congregation received a copy of a letter that neighborhood residents had written to authorities and the police, asking them to stop the church’s religious activities.

Attacks and intimidation against Christians in Indonesia are common. In 2010, at least 30 churches were attacked or forced to close. Some were burned or otherwise damaged, and church members have also been targeted and attacked.

Source: Amnesty International, Compass Direct News

If you are concerned about this situation, please write a letter to Bogor authorities on behalf of the Taman Yasmin Church in English, Indonesian or your own language before Aug. 17.

Ask officials to

  • take adequate measures to guarantee the safety of the Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) congregation.
  • conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations into all reports of intimidation, harassment and attacks against members of the Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church and bring the perpetrators to justice.
  • immediately comply with the Indonesian Supreme Court ruling and re-open the Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church.

Send appeals before Aug. 17, 2011, to:

Mayor of Bogor
Diani Budiarto
Balaikota Bogor, Jl. Ir. H. Juanda No 10, Bogor, West Java, Indonesia
E-mail: kominfo@kotabogor.go.id or inspektorat@kotabogor.go.id
Salutation: Dear Diani Budiarto

West Java Chief of Police
Inspector General. Putut Eko Bayuseno
Jl. Soekarno Hatta No. 748, Gedebage, Bandung, West Java Indonesia.
Fax: +62 22 780 0029
Salutation : Dear Inspector General

And copies to:
Head of the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM)
Ifdhal Kasim
Jl. Latuharhary No. 4 B, Menteng
Jakarta Pusat, 10310 Indonesia Fax: +62 21 392 5227

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