An Indonesian church closed for years by order of the local mayor has been told it can reopen if a mosque is also allowed on its premises.
The GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor, 60km south of Jakarta, had resorted to holding open-air services outside the Presidential palace in Jakarta in protest.
The church was sealed and padlocked by order of the mayor of Bogor and the city government. The mayor claimed that the previous sub-village head had falsified community signatures and that the church brought trouble with local Muslim neighbours. Later he said that the church should not be built on a street with an Islamic name.
In December 2010, the Indonesian Supreme Court affirmed the church's constitutional right to freedom of worship; however the mayor refused to reopen the church. The Indonesian Ombudsman's Office also urged the Bogor city administration to withdraw its later 2011 decree annulling the church's construction permit.
The congregation had resorted to conducting services on the pavement in front of their former church. Then in 2012 they moved to a monthly service in front of the Presidential Palace, where they held more than 100 services.
"We are glad and support the initiative," church spokesperson Bona Sigalingging told UCAN.
"We hope the problem for our church and also of other churches with similar problems will end soon," added Rev. Sony Dandel.
Courtesy of World Watch Monitor