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03 October 2011

Hard-liners harass Bogor church service

As the Bogor Municipal government remains steadfast against reopening Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church (GKI), members of the congregation suffered more harassment on Sunday during a Holy Communion service.

Members of a group calling themselves the Indonesian Muslim Communication Forum (Forkami) attacked members of GKI Yasmin who were holding their service on the sidewalk in front of the sealed church.

Members of Forkami arrived on the site, chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and attempted to disrupt the service and break up the gathering, which ended in an altercation involving members of the group, the GKI Yasmin congregation and public order officers guarding the service.

GKI Yasmin spokesman Bona Sigalingging said this was the second time force had been used to prevent members of the congregation from conducting their Sunday service.

Bogor Mayor Diani Budianto has refused to reopen the church despite a Supreme Court ruling issued seven months ago upholding the church’s legality.

“We hope President [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] will act soon, before action like this becomes widespread all over the country,” Bona told The Jakarta Post.

The Bogor administration had earlier planned to evacuate members of the congregation to the nearby Harmoni building on Sunday.

Head of the Bogor’s National Unity and Protection for the Public Agency, Taufikurrohman, said that the city had readied two buses to ferry the GKI Yasmin members.

The agency had also cordoned off the sidewalk in front of the church to prevent worshippers from conducting a service.

The plan failed, however, as the congregation stood their ground and held their service under heavy guard from the public order officers.

Separately in Tangerang, the Pos Sepatan Jakarta Baptism Christianity Church (GKBJ) in Sepatan has also received a threat of closure.

Lidya Bedali Hulu, the wife of Rev. Bedali Hulu, a preacher at the church, said several officials from the administration arrived on Saturday to seal off the residence, which has been turned into a makeshift church.

“However, as the reverend is still out of town, they said they would postpone the move and wait for him to return home,” she said. (mim)



07:03 Posted in Indonesia | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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