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3/7/2011 Indonesia (TheJakartaGlobe) – After nearly a decade-long legal battle against hard-line Muslims and officials in the province, a group of Christians were finally able to reclaim their sealed-off church in Bogor on Sunday.
Members of the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI Yasmin) fought their way past a security barricade and broke the locks on the church building, which had been ordered opened by the Supreme Court in January.
Judges had ruled in GKI Yasmin’s favor in a long-running dispute over the Christian sect’s permit to worship there.
Muslims had accused the group of violating a 2006 joint ministerial decree on houses of worship when the GKI failed to get the support of at least 60 residents before the church was built along Jalan KH Abdullah bin Nuh.
They said the congregation also failed to get the approval of the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Interreligious Communication Forum (FKUB).
But on Sunday morning, the congregation held a service inside the church, despite policemen and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers blocking their way.
Bona Sigalingging, a GKI spokesman, said that after heated arguments with officers, the Christians were able to hold a service led by the Rev. Ujang Tanusaputra, but prayers were interrupted by the police.
“We did get in and we did pray, but even then, the police repeatedly asked us to stop,” Bona said. “Even with the [Supreme Court] ruling, they were literally stopping us.”
Dwiayanti Novita Rini, a GKI member, said they had waited a long time to pray at the church. While the building was sealed, the sect was forced to conduct prayers on the street.