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06/13/2023 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) —Roughly 100 Muslims protested at a local shopping mall to prevent Christians from using a room they had rented as a place of worship at the beginning of May.  

The Muslims, members of the Muslim Alliance (AUI), demanded that the Plaza Suzuya Marelan mall be used exclusively as a shopping center. The group demanded that the mall revoke the Indonesian Christian Elim Church’s (GEKI) permission to hold worship services there. 

The property administrator, who confronted the crowd of protesters, did not immediately respond to their request to revoke the recommendation, so the demonstrators returned in June with even more people. Due to the backlash, the church cannot hold its worship services in the mall. 

The mayor of Medan, Bobby Nasution, shared that he was surprised by the large group of protesters hoping to ban the church from the shopping center. Other groups have used rooms in the mall for activities contrary to Islamic beliefs in the past, but the only time there were protests was when the Christians wanted to worship there.  

According to Nasution, since 2022, his local government has granted the GEKI church permission to worship in three different locations. “I also invite the GEKI congregation to worship in my office,” he continued, “let us pray that a group of intolerant people does not tarnish the attitude of tolerance shown by the government.” 

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