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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Muslim extremists force closure of sixteen churches in Indonesia

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Vereinte Evangelische Mission: Indonesien: 16 Kirchen mit Polizeigewalt geschlossen

At a stroke, the Indonesian police have closed 16 church buildings in the region of Aceh Singkil. These are two churches: the Christian Church in Indonesia (HKI), a member church of the UEM, and the GKPPD (Pakpak-Dairi Protestant Church, which is connected to the VEM, and also Roman Catholic and Pentecostal churches. The step was justified with the assertion that the churches had been built without planning permission. The UEM (United Evangelical Mission) in Wuppertal has received an actual cry for help from the "Indonesian National Committee" of the Lutheran World Federation. According to this the territory of Singkil Aceh contained the traditional tribal lands of the Pakpak tribe . This was indeed majority Muslim, but they have in the past lived in harmony with other religions, also Christians, who are also part of the Pakpak people. On 30 April, a group of Muslims gathered outside the building of regional administration and asked for the the closing of churches as the churches were built without permits. This was rejected by the representatives of the Christians: The churches were all built following the letter of the minister from 2006, which required an appropriate building permit. The specific group of Muslims still clamored to close the churches. Among other things, they chanted, that Christians should demolish their churches within three days or otherwise they would do that within two weeks. The authorities finally gave in under the pressure of the "street" and closed the churches. Currently, 16 parishes in the region do not celebrate services.
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