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01/06/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo joined Christians during the National Christmas celebrations on Friday December 27. In West Java province some 10,000 Catholics and Protestants gathered, promoting “friendship” as cited by John 15:14-15.

The event was sponsored by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Indonesia and the Council of Churches in Indonesia and promoted friendship and unity in diversity.

Despite Widodo’s appearance at the event and seemingly supportive actions, many Christians, particularly in West Sumatra, were restricted from worshipping for Christmas service. Local leaders originally denied permission for churches to celebrate, some only lifting the ban when their plight became international news.

Although Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees religious freedom for all, a 2006 joint ministerial decree, which regulates places of worship, has made it extremely difficult for non-Muslim groups to build their own places of worship.

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