By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
JAKARTA, INDONESIA (Worthy News)– In Bekasi, Indonesia, just a few miles south of Jakarta, unrestrained Muslims mobs are shutting down Christian services, threatening pastors and pressuring local officials to move congregations out of their churches.
According to Pastor Gagang, head of the Christian Communication Forum in Bekasi, at least five congregations have been driven from their buildings by pressure from Islamists groups this year alone.
The cost of obtaining a proper building permit can run as high as $125,000 US; in a country with an average per capita income of just under $5,000 per year, the price of a permit is too large for most congregations. However, even for congregations able to raise the money, it can take years to obtain a permit, and there is no guarantee of government approval to actually build a church.
Many of the pastors who applied for permits years ago have yet to receive a response, and those who received permits still found it problematic to get back into their vacated building.
Most of the pastors interviewed by ICC were exhausted by their constant struggle to find a safe place for members to meet; even those who have agreed to relocate soon discover that it doesn't take long before anti-Christian protests begin at their new location.