Dozens of Places of Worship Shut Down in Indonesia in Recent Years

11/12/2020 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – In the last three years, more than 23 houses of worship in Indonesia were forcibly shut down or vandalized, according to the country’s human rights agency in a video conference.

Last Friday, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) pointed out that the discrimination faced by Indonesia’s religious minorities continues to exist, with many houses of worship being pressured to close by unfriendly Muslim neighbors or local authorities.

The data from 2017 to 2019 are likely the tip of the iceberg as many such incidents are not formally reported to Komnas HAM, according to its chairman, Ahmad Taufan Damanik.

In addition to obstruction to mosques and buildings constructed by Ahmadiyah or Wahhabism adherents, Hindu temple, several protestant churches also faced protests and harassment from local Muslim communities.

The main cause of the problem is a decree on religious harmony and places of worship issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Religious Affairs in 2006. Taufan urged the government to revise it.

The decree stipulates that the establishment of a house of worship must gain the approval of at least 60 local residents and have a minimum of 90 followers.

“If there is no clear and firm action on the 2006 decree, freedom of religion and beliefs will continue to face hurdles,” said Taufan, according to BenarNews’ report.

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