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ICC Note: Indonesian law makers have decided to pass a controversial bill regulating “Mass” or large organizations, including religious ones. The bill has several vague provisions which Christians worry could be used to suppress the growth of Christianity in the country. Churches in several parts of Indonesia already face strong opposition from hard-line Islamic groups that often have the backing of government officials. Last year at least 50 Christian churches were shut down after protests by radical groups. 
6/25/2013 Indonesia (Jakarta Globe) – Lawmakers are planning to go ahead with their plan to pass a controversial mass organizations bill into law in a plenary meeting scheduled for today, despite strong opposition from the public.
House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Pramono Anung said he hoped that NGOs and mass organizations opposed to the bill would not resort to violence in expressing their disapproval, saying there was a proper channel provided under the Constitution for the public to voice their rejection, which was through the Constitutional Court.
“Tomorrow it will be passed into law. And if there’s any objection, it’s OK, please go to the [Constitutional Court]. That’s the forum [to file an objection],” Pramono said in Jakarta on Monday.
He said lawmakers had accommodated input from the public related to the mass organizations bill and that they had revised some of the points rejected by critics.

Jerry Sumampow, the executive secretary of the Indonesian Church Association (PGI), accused the state of being heavy-handed with the mass organizations bill, saying that mass organization had been put under the control of the state.
Jerry said the government was trying to intervene too much into mass organizations through the controversial bill and that religious-based mass organizations had repeatedly rejected it, but their criticisms had fallen on deaf ears.
He said it turned out that lawmakers were only cooling down and would go ahead with the plan to pass it into law. The lawmakers were initially scheduled to pass the bill into law in April.
“We don’t see the House accommodating the people’s aspirations,” he said.
Critics say the restrictions proposed in the bill would be a major setback for democratic reforms undertaken since the end of Suharto’s New Order regime in 1998.

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