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2/20/2023 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – Despite its claims of embracing freedom of religion for all, there are often instances of persecution of religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country of Indonesia.    

On Sunday, February 5, Indonesian authorities disbanded the worship service of the Pentecostal Church congregation in Indonesia, GPDI Metland Cileungsi, located in Bogor, West Java. The authorities stated that the church did not have a permit to hold worship services. Local leaders have historically made it difficult for Christian churches to obtain such permits.  

These acts of persecution persist even though the Indonesian president has denounced them. In a speech on January 17, 2023, Indonesian President Jokowi reminded the regional leaders not to prohibit the construction of houses of worship. President Jokowi also emphasized that religious people could worship and practice religion as they saw fit according to the constitution.   

President Jokowi’s speech was clear. However, why is the prohibition of worship through the rejection of church building permits still happening? The “culprit” is the Joint Regulations of the Minister of Religion and the Minister of Home Affairs Number 9 and Number 8 of 2006. These regulations are the roots of violations of freedom of worship in this country. These regulations often become a tool for intolerant groups to violate the freedom of worship of minority groups.   

So that President Jokowi’s speech in Sentul is not considered mere lip service, he must evaluate the Joint Regulations of the Minister of Religion and Minister of Home Affairs Number 9 and Number 8 of 2006. The 1945 Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and worship, specifically Article 28, letters E, I, and J, and Article 29, paragraph 2. Despite this, the constitution is often thwarted by these ministerial-level regulations.  

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