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ICC Note: The ability to gain the proper permits to build a church in Indonesia has become nearly impossible. It is not on a strictly legal issue, but local authorities pressured by Muslim radicals to implement onerous regulations regarding building codes. Recently ICC posted a petition calling for the closure of two Protestant churches in Indonesia to be resolved. The Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church came to an agreement on a new location for their new building. However, it seems they will be forced to relocate yet again due to local authorities being manipulated by Muslim radicals. Please sign the Indonesian petition in support of these churches as our brothers and sisters in Christ face persecution merely for their faith. 

11/12/2015 Indonesia (UCA News) – An embattled Protestant congregation in Indonesia could be forced to move the site of a planned church because of pressure from Muslim hard-liners.

Bona Sigalingging, spokesman for the Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church, said that city authorities in Bogor, near the Indonesian capital Jakarta, have unilaterally decided to move the site of a planned church about seven kilometers from its original location.

“We believe it is due to the inability to face pressure from intolerant groups,” he said.

The relocation plan, he said, could set a troubling precedent for other Christian congregations that have faced roadblocks when trying to build churches in Muslim-majority communities.

“We believe that if we accept it, then the government in other areas will also follow what has been done by the Bogor government,” Sigalingging said.

The Yasmin congregation learned of the plan from sources within the Bogor government, though it has not been publicly confirmed by city officials. Bima Arya, the city’s mayor, did not respond to requests for comment.

But the move would be the latest in a line of hardships for the Yasmin church. Worshipers have been forced to hold prayer services at home since 2010, when the city’s previous mayor, Diani Budiarto, revoked the church’s building permit and ordered the building sealed.

Although the congregation took the case to the country’s Supreme Court, which ordered that the church be reopened, local authorities have refused.

Faced with pressure from hard-line Muslims, authorities in many Indonesian jurisdictions have used onerous regulations on places of worship as a basis for shutting down churches. In 2006, the government introduced legislation that forced congregations to seek signed support from at least 60 residents and the approval of local authorities before building permits would be issued.

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