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07/25/2019 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Despite having the required government permit, a protestant church in Jakarta has not been able to hold service, thanks to Muslim hard-liners’ protests and threats.

The claim they make is that the church is located in a predominantly Muslim residential area in the Cengkareng district of West Jakarta – it is too close to a mosque and an Islamic boarding school.

The church administrators, however, disputed the claims, saying there were no mosques or residential areas nearby. A local Muslim explained that the main objection is because a mosque will be built nearby.

UCA News reports that Reverend Timotheus Halim, head of the Family of God Church, said he does not understand why objections were being raised as all legal requirements had been followed.

“Our church got a permit from West Jakarta mayor on July 2 this year, based on an agreement with local people,” Rev. Halim said. But on July 5, he was summoned by community leaders who told him the church was banned because it was near a mosque, an Islamic boarding school, and houses owned by clerics.

He said he and 150 members of his congregation were planning to hold their first prayer meeting at the new church on July 7, only to be canceled after they received threats from Muslim groups including the notorious Islamic Defenders Front.

He said the same group had hounded them out of their last church building in West Jakarta, but “I will fight and not give up because we have a legal permit and have fulfilled all requirements from the government.”

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator:[email protected].