06/13/2012 Indonesia (The Jakarta Globe) - Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi said that he was disheartened by "rumored" demands to close 20 churches in Aceh, explaining that local residents need to accept that Indonesia is a pluralistic nation with more than one recognized religion.
The minister was responding to a rumor that residents of the conservative Islamic province have demanded the closure of 20 churches. Last month, 16 storefront churches — locally called “undung-undungs” — were shut down in the Aceh Singkil district amid demands from local Muslim groups.
Gamawan warned Aceh residents to resist religious intolerance.
"Let people of a different religion build a place of worship if they want to," Gamawan said. "The majority shouldn't force their views on the minority. Tolerance should continue to exist."
Aceh, Indonesia's westernmost province, practices a local version of Shariah law that bans everything from unmarried couples fraternizing after dark to skinny jeans.