0 Indonesian Officials, Hard-Liners Continue Harassment of Bogor Church

Youth leaders and politicians in support of the controversy-plagued GKI Yasmin church in Bogor, which was obstructed again over the weekend. From 5 a.m. on Sunday, police were on standby at the church, having roped off the sidewalk where worshipers had been forced to pray in recent weeks since the city sealed the building. (JG Photo)
Sunday prayers at the controversy-plagued GKI Yasmin church in Bogor were obstructed again over the weekend.  From 5 a.m. on Sunday, police were on standby at the church, having roped off the sidewalk where worshipers had been forced to pray in recent weeks since the city sealed the building.  Not long after church members began to arrive at 7.30 a.m., scores of protesters from the Indonesian Muslim Communication Forum (Forkami) also turned up.


The makeshift service, led by priest Novita Susanto, lasted just 30 minutes.

A spokesman for the Yasmin church, Bona Sigalingging, said he thought the action was a direct attempt at provocation by the Bogor mayor.

“This is the second time [Mayor] Diani Budiarto has interfered with our service. He was seen at the location, planning to evict us,” Bona said.


“Our church has been approved in decisions by the Supreme Court and the ombudsman commission, but still Diani remains arrogant.”

When asked about the allegations, Diani dodged the question of whether he had encouraged the demonstration.

“Where did that idea come from? I came only to observe the security measures that were put in place by the police,” he claimed.

Diani said the officials were sent to rope off the area to prevent conflict between the Yasmin church congregation and their opponents.

“I deliberately limited and dispersed [the service] because I was worried that if the two groups faced one another, chaos could ensue,” he said.




Diani said he took into account opposition by local residents and the alleged falsification of signatures used in a permit application when he ordered the church to be closed down in March.



As for the ombudsman, Diani said: “It’s just a recommendation with no force. [Djoko Suyanto, the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs] thinks we are correct, and taking the right path.”


On Pancasila Sanctity Day on Saturday, a group including Supreme Court chief Mahfud M.D., former first lady Shinta Wahid and the head of the Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), Ifdal Kasim, met in East Bogor. The group expressed their solidarity with the Yasmin congregation.

thejakartaglobe.com


Arabic Christian song, translation: To you Lord is the Glory, the Wisdom, the Praise, the adoration for ever and ever, you are Holy, Holy, Holy.


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