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ICC Note: As predicted, Islamic radicals have coerced the local authorities into not only closing down the churches temporarily, but in actually razing the buildings.  The fact that some of these churches did not have the appropriate permits is relevant, but they had applied to the government for them – an extremely difficult and onerous process – and had never been given permits.  The whole church building permit process (IMB) is unfair and runs counter to religious freedom, which is promised to all citizens in the Indonesian constitution.

By staff/Agencies

10/20/2015 Indonesia (

The authorities in Singkil, Aceh province, began to tear down ten churches deemed “illegal” because they did not have the appropriate building permit (Ind. Izin Mendirikan Bangunan).

Islamic extremist groups had been pressing for their destruction, and took matters in their own hand on 13 October when they attacked two churches, torching one. This prompted an exodus of hundreds of Christian families, fleeing sectarian clashes.

For now, tensions in the only Indonesian province that enforces Islamic law (Sharia) remain high. The authorities have deployed the army around the sites to be demolished to prevent further violence.

The police used clubs and hammers to tear down the small wooden “provisional churches” (undung-undung) as members of the Protestant congregations looked on.

Paima Brutu, guardian of one of the demolished churches, blames the government for the lack of permits.

“We applied for permission to build a thousand times,” he explained. “At this point, we want to know whether the government will ever allow us to have it.”

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