JAKARTA, Indonesia – A month that saw the Bogor city mayor defying a Supreme Court decision granting a building permit for a church in Bogor, West Java culminated in police turning away those seeking to worship and church leaders on Friday filing a police complaint on the mayor with National Police.
Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto issued a decree revoking the building permit for the Christian Church of Indonesia (GKI) in Yasmin Park on March 11, citing unrest among local Muslims and charging the church with having lied about obtaining area residents’ approval when the permit was originally processed. Bogor city officials have also decided to try purchasing the land where the church meets.
Church leaders and rights groups scoffed at the city’s claims and its attempt to remove the church from the area after years of protests from Islamic groups. At a press conference last month, Bona Sigalingging, spokesperson for the GKI Yasmin church, read a statement in which the church and 12 interfaith and rights organizations rejected the mayor’s decree. more >>
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Human rights and Christian leaders said a West Java court’s light sentence for Islamic extremists who injured a church pastor and an elder will encourage more violence and religious intolerance.
After those involved in the Sept. 12, 2010 clubbing of the Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak and the stabbing of elder Hasian Lumbantoruan Sihombing of the Batak Christian Protestant Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestan, or HKBP) in Ciketing received sentences of only five to seven months, the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace released a statement asserting that the judges’ panel was acting under pressure from Muslim extremists.
“The public will think that violence, intolerance, and obstruction of worship are part of their religious worship and duties,” the institute stated regarding the Feb. 24 sentences. more >>
Wycliffe Associates is seeking to replace its aging aircraft to boost Bible translation efforts in some of the most hard-to-reach areas in Indonesia.
The international missions group aims to raise $1.5 million to purchase a Pilatus PC-6 aircraft, which will empower Bible translators to traverse through the most remote and rugged islands of the Muslim-dominated country where people speak over 700 separate languages.
Wycliffe Associates President and CEO Bruce Smith calls Indonesia “one of the most challenging mission fields on earth.” more >>
Two churches were burned and another destroyed Tuesday as thousands of angry Muslims demanded the death sentence for a Christian man convicted of blasphemy against Islam.
Antonius Bawengan was sentenced to five years in prison by a local court in Temanggung, Central Java, for distributing books and literatures that allegedly spread hatred against Islam. The sentence is the maximum penalty for the crime.
The crowd was furious Tuesday with the “mild” verdict and attacked the court while chanting “kill, kill” as Bawengan was led away under heavy security, according to Fides News Agency. more >>
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Violations of Christians’ religious freedom in Indonesia jumped from 12 incidents in 2009 to 75 last year, according to a report from the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.
Setara Institute researcher Ismail Hasani said at a press conference last week that 43 incidents involved attacks on churches and other security threats, sealing of worship venues and prohibition of activities, among other violations. Other incidents among the 75 violations included blocking churches from establishing places of worship and banning services and other religious activities.
Those involved in the violations acted primarily as members of community organizations, Hasani said. more >>
Two and a half years after an Islamic attack on a seminary here left hundreds of students without facilities, they are still in temporary shelters and the government has not compensated the loss of eight buildings.
Students from the Arastamar Evangelical Theological Seminary (SETIA) have until the end of this month to leave the Wisma Transito building, and no alternative shelter has been arranged. At the same time, the school is still wrangling with the Jakarta Provincial Government over compensation for eight buildings the government took in Kampung Pulo, Pinang Ranti, East Jakarta.
More than a 100 SETIA students demonstrated in front of Jakarta City Hall on Dec. 14 over compensation for their property that was expected a year ago. They urged officials to pay 7 billion rupiah (US$765,100) immediately so they can buy a school building to accommodate 1,000 students, that have been staying at Wisma Transito and Wisma Daan Mogot shelters in Jakarta. more >>