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ICC Note: The leaders and congregation of the GKI Yasmin church in Bogor, Indonesia, have called on the newly elected mayor of the region to re-open their church building that was sealed off in 2010 after violent protests by radical Islamic groups put pressure on local authorities. Despite pressure and threats, the congregation of GKI Yasmin refused to leave their church, even holding meetings in the street outside after it was sealed off, only to face angry large mobs of radical Islamists. Since 2010, the Supreme Court of Indonesia has ruled in the churches favor, calling for the church to re-open. The previous Bogor mayor, however, refused to comply with the Supreme Court ruling.  

4/24/2014 Indonesia (AsiaNews) – Members of the GKI Yasmin Church appealed to Bima Arya Sugiarto, the new mayor of Bogor (West Java), to keep the promise he made a few weeks ago to reopen their church before the presidential election in July.

For a long time, the place of worship has been at the centre of a controversy involving local authorities against the city’s Christian minority.

Former mayor Diani Budiarto had had the building sealed in response to demands by Islamic extremists. Even a ruling in favour of the Church by the Constitutional Court in 2010 was not enough to see the building returned to the faithful.

Bima and his deputy, Usmar Hariman, took office on 7 April. “The matter is now in their hands,” said GKI Yasmin Church spokesman Bona Sigalingging. Hence, “we ask them to respect the ruling” of the Supreme Court and “put an end” to the abuses perpetrated for years by the former mayor.

On Easter Sunday, members of the community along with a delegation from the Batak Protestant Church (HKBP) Philadelphia Bekasi celebrated an outdoor service in front of a government building.

Like in the past, they tried to raise awareness about their predicament in the general public and the main parties involved in the case.

A few days ago, Bogor’s new mayor pledged he would find a solution to the issue during his inauguration. “I am optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement,” Mayor Bima Arya Sugiarto said.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has increasingly seen attacks or acts of intolerance against minorities, such as Christians and Ahmadi Muslims as well as members of other faiths.

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