Yasmin Church forced to Relocate (again)
By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
JAKARTA, INDONESIA (Worthy News)– The Indonesian Minister for Home Affairs has told the GKI Yasmin Church congregation in Bogor, West Java, that it must again relocate.
After years of legal disputes, an agreement was reached in May whereby the Yasmin Church could reopen its sealed-off, half-built church if a mosque was built next door, but Yasmin spokesman Bona Sigalingging can’t comprehend the sudden decision to renege on the agreement by forcefully relocating the church.
“No matter where, no matter how expensive, or beautiful the new location, we will not accept,” he said.
Bogor authorities have allocated up to $1 million U.S. for the construction of a new, albeit relocated church, in contradiction to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling to reopen the existing Yasmin structure, which has been off-limits to its congregation since 2008; since then, the Yasmin congregation has been holding services in the street, or in private homes.
Home Ministry spokesman Reydonnyzar Moenek said although the latest decision to relocate the congregation went against the Supreme Court ruling, he insisted it wasn’t a violation of religious freedom.
Sigalingging blamed the leadership of Forkami, the Islamist group that helped fuel tensions between the congregation and the Muslim community, eventually ending in the already brokered agreement being broken once again.
As a result, the church has filed a formal complaint with the courts against the Bogor authorities.