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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Muslims Stop Construction of Church

JAKARTA, July 15 (Compass Direct News) – Members of several Muslim organizations joined a demonstration on June 27 to protest construction of a Huria Kristen Batak Protestant (HKBP) church building in Plaju, outside of Palembang, capital of South Sumatra Province.

The South Sumatra Muslim Forum (FUI Sumsel) organized the demonstration. Carrying a copy of a mayoral decree dated May 2009 ordering a halt to construction, the protestors gathered outside the building site, listened to speeches and then destroyed a bridge leading to it before demanding that the government ban the building project.

A spokesman from FUI Sumsel who goes by the single name of Umar said the group objected on grounds that the church had not secured permission from the local Interfaith Harmony Forum nor a building permit; both are required by a Joint Ministerial Decree regulating the establishment of places of worship.

On Feb. 10 a delegation of church leaders led by the Rev. Japati Napitupulu had met with Gov. Alex Noerdin, who said he had no objection to the building of the church, but church leaders acknowledged they had not completed the permit process.

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