Indonesian Islamists Protest New Church Construction
Wed, March 9, 2016
Indonesian Christians walk past a church that was torched by Islamists. (Photo: © Reuters)
Hundreds of Islamists demonstrated against the construction of a new church in Indonesia, on March 7, according to AsiaNews.
The Catholic community of the St Clara parish in West Java Province has been fighting for the right to build a permanent church for 17 years, despite having a community of 7,000 people.
They were finally granted a permit last July, but Islamists blocked construction since then by protesting periodically.
A 2006 decree passed by the Religious Affairs Ministry and Home Affairs Ministry places tight regulations on houses of worship.
The permit process is known to take five to 10 years for a church, during which time Islamists often pressure local government officials to deny the applications.
Signatures from 60 local households of different faiths are required, as are endorsements from several local officials to prove the church has community approval. They are also required to receive permission from the community’s Interfaith Communication Forum, which may have Islamists serving in it.
Christians make up an estimated seven percent of Indonesia’s population but the community faces persecution from the Muslim majority. Indonesia is also very corrupt, which makes construction of any kind take longer than it otherwise would.