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03/19/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – A church in Sulawesi, Indonesia, has been repeatedly asked to shut down due to local Muslim group’s protests.

For a while, the Islamic Defenders Alliance (ABI) of Tojo Unauna Regency, has been demanding the GKI church in the Ampana shopping complex on Jalan Yos Sudarso, Ampana Kota, to be demolished. Members of ABI held demonstration in front of the church, pressured local government and police to demand closure of church, accusing the church for a lack of building permit (IMB).

On March 11, ABI coordinator Touna Rusli Aksa Patundu, at a quadrilateral meeting between representatives of ABI, GKI, the Regional Government and the Police at the Touna Regional Office of Kesbangpol, said “The building has been used as a church from 2017 to 2020, […], We, from the alliance, demand that the church be demolished as soon as possible, if there is an attempt by the GKI to build a church behind the building, help yourself, as long as the IMB requirements are met.”

In response, the GKI representative, Agung claimed that the building in question was not a church, but a gathering place for the GKI congregation in Ampana. In fact, the GKI has addressed the objection of the GKI building by removing the cross symbol and the GKI signboard from the building, in a hope to calm ABI’s anger.

Agung added, since the rejection of the GKI building, he has tried to find land to build the GKI church. However, it was always rejected due to local residents’ objection. Agung will try to find a location where the church can be built without problem.

Local government is also trying to mediate the dispute by asking residents to not act irrationally and divide the unity between citizens and religious communities in Touna.

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