Islamic law forbids Christians to build new churches or repair old ones. In places like modern, moderate Indonesia this prohibition often manifests itself as a bureaucratic snafu over permits — in this case, enforced by the local Muslim people.
“Bandung Church Shuttered Amid Protests,” from the Jakarta Globe, July 30 (thanks to Kenneth):
Protestors forced a church in Bandung, West Java, to shut down on Sunday amid claims that it was operating without a permit.
The Batak Karo Protestant Church (GBKP) has been in operation since 2007. But protestors claimed that the congregation agreed not to use the building as a house of worship in a 2011 agreement.
“On Sunday of last week, they used the building for Sunday service,” Amin Safari told Tempo.co. “That is why we sealed the building.”
The protestors also hung a banner on the church’s gate reading, “We the people of RW 06 [a neighborhood unit] hardily reject the use of this building, at Kawaluyan 10, to be used for religious activities.”
The church’s committee secretary said that although they did sign the 2011 agreement, the church has since received all the necessarily permits from the local government to hold services.
“Since June 20 we have held a permit [to hold services] from the Bandung city administration,” Davin told Tempo.co. “We have complied with the legal codes, so the [previous] agreement is no longer valid.”
Amin accused the congregation of manipulating the agreement.
“The majority of the people still reject the church’s activity,” he said.