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Indonesian jihad on churches: 1,000 churches closed since religious harmony law was passed


Indonesian churches

In the wake of the passing of a law by the Indonesian authorities, which necessitated minority religious groups to get signatures from the local majority group before building their houses of worship.

For example, when largest Protestant organization working in Indonesia; decided to build a church in the suburb of Indonesian capital, Jakarta. The authorities required the organisation to get signatures of consent from at least 60 Christians and 90 people from another faith.

Ever since, this “religious harmony” bill, was passed which was advertised by the Indonesian lawmakers as a long-standing solution to religious conflicts in the country, in excess of 1,000 Indonesian Christian churches have closed. While at the same time, some of the churches which were planned to be built have never been built.

In this regard, a Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono says, “It shows the failures of the religious harmony regulation. It discriminates against minorities, thus making way for the majority, mostly Muslim hard-liners in Indonesia, to pressure the government to close down churches.”

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In recent past, this law has ignited aggression which sooner or later resulted in frightening about 8,000 Indonesian Christians from their homes in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

Aceh is Indonesia’s only province where Islamic Shari’ah law is imposed. Just last month, Islamists put forth complains in front of the authorities that 10 churches in Aceh province were built without building permits and thus termed them illegal while demanding the authorities to tear them down, a report from World Watch Monitor said.

Followed by violence and pressure from the Islamists, the local authorities approved the orders of demolishing the churches over two weeks. However, a mob which comprised of about 700 Muslims reached at the church site which was to be demolished, while at that occasion, a Muslim man was shot dead when the mob was burning down a church that was not on the list of churches to be demolished.