Indonesia: Church Set on Fire as Forced Closures Continue

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Indonesia: Church Set on Fire as Forced Closures Continue


Concern is growing among Christians in Indonesia's Aceh province after a series of recent attacks by extremist groups or unknown assailants, AsiaNews reports. The violence is worsened by the policy of local authorities, who, instead of halting attacks, continue closing churches and prayer halls for the alleged lack of building permits, which are required for all construction in Indonesia (religious and non-religious). On July 18, the Pakpak Dairi Christian Protestant Church in Singkil was attacked and set on fire by a group of strangers. Investigators have not identified any culprits, but the prompt intervention of Christians prevented the complete destruction of the building. In a statement released this week, the Christian Alliance of United North Sumatra said such attacks are of "growing concern," given that there is no "protection or recognition" for religious groups or minorities. The situation in Singkil is getting worse, with increasing violations of religious freedom in addition to non-intervention by the central government in Jakarta when local governments violate the rights and freedoms of citizens, particularly non-Muslims.

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