Indonesia: Church allowed to reopen after local Muslims shut it down
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – In a remarkable piece of good news for persecuted Indonesian Christians, a church in Bandar Lampung has been allowed to reopen after local Muslim village authorities and residents interrupted a worship service and forced it to close down last month, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. The Kemah Daud Christian Church had been in the middle of a Sunday service on February 19 when the disruption and subsequent closure occurred.
The move to shut down the church was contrary to Indonesia’s constitutional guarantee of religious freedom for all – and the Keman Daud church leaders successfully appealed the closure to higher authorities, ICC reports.
Following the appeal, Bandar Lampung Police Chief Kombes Ino Hariant promised the congregation would be allowed to hold services again, ICC stated, “Later on, both the village chief and the sub-district head will hold meetings with the church, and the head of the neighborhood. We will also guarantee security for all people in Bandar Lampung City in the freedom to carry out their worship,” Hariant said in a statement.
Moreover, Indonesia’s Minister of Religion, Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, asserted that the closure of the church was uncalled for.
“All parties are responsible for creating harmony. Therefore, if there are problems, they should be resolved by deliberation by involving the parties responsible for maintaining harmony. Therefore, there is no need for dissolution or banning,” Quomas said in a statement.
In a website statement about difficulties faced by Christians in Indonesia, the US Open Doors Christian advocacy group explains: “If a church is seen to be preaching and spreading the gospel, they soon run into opposition from Islamic extremist groups, especially in rural areas.”
Muslim-majority Indonesia ranks 33rd on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
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