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For Immediate Release

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address www.www.persecution.org. Contact Jeff King, President, 301-989-1708, icc@www.persecution.org

FROM BAD TO WORSE IN INDONESIA

(November 21, 2005) – The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org has just became aware of draft regulation intended to govern religious activities in Indonesia . The present law on religious buildings SKB 1/69 has been used by radical Islamists to legally close over 60 churches in the past few months. These laws are now being revised to make the situation even more restrictive for minority religions, and will have the effect to deny basic freedom of worship to all religions except Islam. These draft regulations have been presented as Christians, and particularly young girls, are being shot and beheaded only because they happen to be Christians.

The draft regulation states that religious activities must be conducted inside religious buildings. However, religion activities outside religious buildings can only be conducted after receiving permission from the Mayor or District Mayor with a recommendation from the Department of Religion, and such permission if granted will be temporary in nature. These regulations would restrict Christians in having home fellowships, as each fellowship would have to apply for a permit. Furthermore, many churches have applied for permits to build their own buildings for religious activities, but years later the permits are still unissued. Why must Christians and other minority religions be denied the freedom to practice their faith as has been granted to Islam in Indonesia ? The Indonesian constitution, Section 29, guarantees religious freedom and recognizes all religions equally. The constitution should be the basis for any new regulations and not Islamic law.

The draft regulations are clearly part of the same movement to close churches, incarcerate women Sunday school teachers, murder Christians in the streets, and behead teenage schoolgirls. This is a battle to see which ideology will rule the world – freedom and democracy or radical Islam.