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The following illustrates that while the leading Muslim Council in Indonesia may disagree with the recent church closings, they offer to do nothing about it and offer no legal recourse for the Christians suffering.

Indonesia ‘s top Muslim body condemns closing of Christian churches

People’s Daily Online ( China )

The Indonesian Ulema Council, the highest Islamic body, has condemned the much-criticized forced closure of dozens of neighborhood churches in West Java province, saying that such acts were intolerable, the Jakarta Post reported Thursday.

But the council has no plans to issue an edict against the violence.

The head of the council Umar Shihab said Wednesday that all actions or efforts that disrupted religious activities were a form of violence, and as such could not be justified.

“We really feel sorry and condemn these actions, and the council has clearly never tolerated such arbitrary things by taking the law into one’s own hands,” he said during a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission VIII on religion, social and women’s affairs.

It was reported that at least 23 churches in the province had been forcibly closed by mobs during the past year, which has led several Christian and Muslim figures to call on the government to take legal action against the so-called hard-liners.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla also condemned the actions and instructed the police to take legal measures against groups taking arbitrary actions without legal authority.

“It’s clearly stated in the Koran that Islam does not tolerate or allow violent acts, and this is a guide for Muslims in leading their lives,” said Umar.

However, the council did not agree with suggestions to retract the controversial joint ministerial decree on the construction of venues to host religious services, considered by many Christians to be an impediment to the establishment of new churches.

According to the regulations formulated more than three decades ago, those wanting to establish places of worship must first obtain approval from the local community and local government.

“It (the decree) should be upgraded to become a law. But if there are people or parties who are discontent over something that they feel runs counter to the decree, they should report it to the police and not take the law into their own hands,” said Umar.