Friday, October 4, 2013

Islamists in Indonesia block efforts to build church, despite permit

Despite having a permit to build a church to accommodate 11,000 people, some 200 members of the Islamic Defenders Front are blocking efforts to construct St. Barbara's in the Indonesian city of Tangerang on Java Island.

The Fides news agency reports that
among the population in Tangerang, leaflets of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI ) and other Islamic organizations united in the Islamic forum "Sudimara Pinang" that are opposed to the construction of the church, are circulating. According to the forum, "the church is a threat to Islam, and if the construction of the church continues, Christians will convert Muslims in the coming decades". As Fides learns, the Muslim religious leaders in Tangerang have distanced themselves from this position, stating that " it is wrong to stir up religious tensions" and appeal to tolerance and peaceful religious coexistence, essential trait of Indonesia.
The permit itself took twenty-three years to obtain and, according to reports from the Jakarta Globe, this is not the first time the parish has met with similar persecution:
The parish has faced intolerance before. In 2004, protestors forced the church to relocate from the Sang Timur school in Ciledug. Protestors built a wall across a road, blocking access to the school. The wall still stands.

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