Indonesia: Aceh Shuts own 16 Places of Worship

Saturday, May 12, 2012

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (Worthy News)-- Since May, the Aceh administration has shut down 16 Christian places of worship in Singkil, claiming they were operating without permits and causing complaints.

Called "undung-undung," the buildings are smaller than churches and have no visible crosses.

"It's not churches, but undung-undungs that we've sealed," Aceh Singkil district head Razali Abdul Rahman told the Jakarta Globe. "It’s because they don’t have any permits and because they've breached a previously agreed deal ... that there should be only one church and four undung-undungs in Singkil."

On April 30, hundreds of Muslims held a rally to demand the closing of the undung-undungs, but Razali said his administration acted independently of their demands.

"It has nothing to do with the rallies," he said. "This is a move to maintain public order because the houses of worship have no permits and breach the regulation."