INDONESIA – Indonesia: Three Churches Closed in Permits Dispute

World Watch Monitor | Oct. 3, 2018

Members of one of the closed churches hold a sign that says: "Our church Assemblies of God has been sealed by the government". (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Members of one of the closed churches hold a sign that says: “Our Assemblies of God church has been sealed by the government.” (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Three churches were closed in an Indonesian village last week amidst rumours Muslims were planning to protest against the churches’ presence because they did not have the required permits.

But a pastor from one of the affected churches in West Kenali village, Alam Barajo district, in Sumatra’s central Jambi province, told World Watch Monitor: “We had been worshipping here since 2004 and fulfilled all building license requirements. We have even built a good relationship with the local authorities. Yet the permit was not granted.”

“The rapid church growth in the area during the last decade may have caused restlessness among the majority-Muslim neighbourhood,” said the pastor, who leads an Assemblies God church.

“The rapid church growth in the area during the last decade may have caused restlessness among the majority-Muslim neighbourhood.”

The other two affected churches belong to the Huria Kristen Indonesia (HKI) and Gereja Methodist Indonesia (GMI) branches.

A local source, who wished to remain anonymous, said the churches were closed to prevent unrest ahead of a planned protest by supporters of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

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