'Defenseless’ Indonesian State Caves to Islamist Pressure as Pentecostal Church Shut Down

Friday, August 9, 2019

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - A controversial government decree on the construction of places of worship has led to the closure of a Pentecostal church in Indonesia.

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) reports that radical Muslim groups in Yogyarta vowed to see the church neutralized only days before district chief Suharsono declared “a house of worship cannot be a home at the same time,” citing the 2006 decree and shutting the church.

"Although Indonesia’s constitution promotes religious freedom, Islamic extremist groups are becoming more influential in pushing for an Islamic nation," according to the Open Doors USA fact sheet on the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.

Indonesian Christians say that Muslim political groups have set their sights on turning their nominally democratic nation into an Islamic state ruled by Sharia Law by 2020, and that the government is now caving to the pressure of these radical lobbies.

"The state is defenseless against pressure by intolerant groups,” said Palit Panjaitain, leader of Solidarity of Victims of Violations of Freedom of Religion and Beliefs.

Late in 2018 the Indonesian government released a phone app designed for citizens to monitor “deviant” religious practices, while twice last year Christians were sentenced to multiple-year prison terms on blasphemy charges for sharing their faith.