14 March 2011

Jakarta officials bar Christians from their church

From UCA News, with my emphases:
Christians in Bogor City in West Java say local authorities are flouting a court order by still trying to prevent them from worshiping in their church.

Police have barred us from praying in our church and have even blocked the entrance,” Bona Sigalingging, an official of Taman Yasmin Church, said yesterday.

Sigalingging said a January supreme court ruling cleared the way for them to use their church after a lengthy legal battle.

However, on March 6, when they tried to use it, local authorities and police locked the church’s doors.

When they went to the church yesterday they were forced to break in so they could hold a Sunday morning Mass, according to a report on the Jakarta Post website.

Barring us from the church is in defiance of the law and goes against the constitution,” Sigalingging said.

Reverend Jeiry Sumampauw, from the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) said his organization has tried to act on behalf of the Taman Yasmin Church, but no one seems to care.

“The PGI has urged the religious minister to deal with the case. But it seems the government doesn’t consider important enough.”

He said mediation efforts with Bogor authorities had reached a dead end.

They even refused to allow the church to be relocated.

It seems local authorities would rather bow to the demands of a radical Muslim group than comply with the Supreme Court’s decision, Reverend Sumampauw said.

Besides robbing citizens of their constitutional rights, the local government is abusing the constitution, he said.

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