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03/15/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – For six months, Indonesian Baptist Church (GBI) Tlogosari has not been able to continue its construction for its church thanks to opposition from local groups.

Although the existence of the building permit (IMB) for the church is evident that the construction of houses of worship is in accordance with the rules. However, intolerant local residents continue to issue various excuses in rejecting them, from questioning the IMB to being an IMB management deception.

In the early years of development in 1998 at that time, the church had received the signatures of local residents even though signatures were not the principal requirement for the issuance of IMB.

However, in mediation with the mayor on August 20, 2019, the government asked the church to collect more than 60 signatures and the church succeeded in collecting 84 signatures of local residents. Even so, the community groups continued to pressure the government to block the church’s construction.

As a result, the church will take legal action to resolve the disputes. Director of LBH Semarang, Zainal Arifin, as GBI Tlogosari’s attorney, told, “We are ready to take legal channels to fight against the people’s refusal. The reasons for the rejection are changing, starting from falsified signatures, expired IMBs, until finally the residents’ refusal does not touch the issue of principle permits or IMB.”

Pastor of GBI Wahyudi also said, “We will continue to fight for this, because if left unchecked it will set a bad precedent for freedom of religion and worship in Semarang.”

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