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 No Room at the Inn, Bogor Mayor Tells Locked-Out Christians

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BerichtOnderwerp: No Room at the Inn, Bogor Mayor Tells Locked-Out Christians   za 13 dec 2014 - 22:15

The Jakarta Globe, Dec 13, 2014

Long-Running Feud: Just let us back into our church already, beleaguered congregation pleads

Jakarta. The congregation of an illegally sealed-off church in Bogor have called on President Joko Widodo and the city’s mayor, Bima Arya Sugiarto, to keep their campaign promises to reopen the church, as they prepare to celebrate another Christmas on the sidewalk.

Bona Sigalingging, a spokesman for the GKI Yasmin church in Taman Yasmin, Bogor, lamented Bima’s refusal to reopen the church, which his predecessor sealed in 2010 amid pressure from hard-line Muslim groups, despite two rulings from the Supreme Court ordering the city to let the congregation back in.

“We really want to meet [the mayor] before Christmas because we want to celebrate our Christmas at our church,” Bona said. “As time passes, that promise has not been realized.”

Bona said the congregation would stage a Christmas celebration on the sidewalk in front of their church as a sign of protest, as they had been doing every year since the building was sealed off in 2010, often with the threat of violence from hard-line Muslims, who have jeered and shout insults during previous services.

According to Bona, representatives from several interfaith communities and religious freedom advocacy groups will attend the church’s Christmas celebration including from the Wahid Institute, the Jakarta’s Legal Aid Foundation and the Setara Institute.

The congregation obtained a permit in 2006 to build its church, but this was revoked in 2010 by then-mayor Diani Budiarto.

Bima said on Thursday he would not carry out the Supreme Court order to reopen the church, citing unspecified “strong reasons” for flouting the verdict from the highest court in the land.

He said he had asked for the Home Affairs Ministry and Religious Affairs Ministry to weigh in on the issue.

“But so far we have not received any [feedback],” he said.

“What is clear is that [the congregation] should not [stage a Christmas celebration] on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are not a place for praying. We have provided [alternative venues] like Harmoni or other places,” he said, referring to a local public hall.

Bona said the congregation would not back down from its plan.

“Why does the government have to propose such alternatives? What’s wrong with our church? Why can’t we just take our church back?” Bona said. “If Bima wants to be different from the previous mayor, he should reopen the church, rather than give alternatives — which we have always rejected.”

Bona said he expected the president to help in ending the dispute.

“We are asking the president to fulfill his promise that the country will not bend down to intolerant groups,” Bona said.

Separately, Bogor Police are preparing a joint force to secure 59 churches throughout the city as Christmas inches closer, an official said.

Police said they were coordinating with the military, the public order agency, the fire department and community groups and organizations.

The joint task force will unite in an annual operation called “Operasi Lilin,” for which 890 security officials will be deployed through six Bogor’s subdistricts, running from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2.

(Oh see here jocolor an other gutless official pranking around in admiral's uniform who does not recognize a legitamate court order
when he sees one and cites " strong reasons" for not doing so. Broertjes in the FPI or similar ilk?) siK.

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