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04/18/2023 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – After over 15 years of dispute, an Indonesian church, Yasmin Church, located in the city of Bogor, just south of Jakarta, was finally allowed to open on Easter Sunday this year. The mayor of Bogor, Bima Arya, attended the opening ceremony of the church.  

Bima Arya, in his speech, said that the opening of Yasmin Church at long last gave him two feelings: regret and happiness. He said, “One feeling of regret, two feelings of happiness. Regret for being unable to resolve this conflict quickly according to the dreams of the Congregation. Happy because after 15 years, the end is happy.” 

Yasmin Church in Bogor, Indonesia, has been battling with local authorities to secure its building permit for the last fifteen years. The church building initially opened in 2010 but was quickly shut down when the local government invalidated its building permit. 

Despite a ruling by the Indonesian Supreme Court later in 2010 that upheld the validity of the church’s building permit, local authorities still refused to allow the church to reopen. Objections from Bogor’s majority Muslim community have been a significant obstacle for Yasmin Church and the primary reason it has not been allowed to reopen. 

The opening of Yasmin Church’s new building this past Easter Sunday is undoubtedly a welcome victory after 15 years of conflict with residents and local authorities. However, it marks a concerning trend in Indonesia, whereby Christian congregations frequently struggle to obtain building permits for their church buildings due to local and governmental pressures. Despite guaranteeing religious freedom for all in its Constitution, Indonesia still has a long way to go on its road toward practically ensuring this right for all its citizens.  

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