Indonesia Christians Urge Government To Halt Church Demolitions

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Bu Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - Christians in Aceh, Indonesia’s only province governed by Islamic Sharia law, have urged the central government to help prevent the demolition of churches, Worthy News learned.

Local authorities in Aceh’s Singkil District already destroyed nine of the area’s ten church buildings in 2015, said Christians familiar with the situation.

The demolitions have left many Christians without a permanent worship place, according to rights investigators.

“The matter is now being considered by Religious Affairs Minister Yaqut Cholil Quomas,” confirmed advocacy group, Barnabas Fund.

The Singkil authorities reportedly claimed that an agreement was made between Muslims and Christians in 1980 that only one church would be built.

The standoff comes amid broader concerns about Christians in Aceh. It is “among the most hostile places for Indonesian Christians to live,” said well-informed charity Open Doors.

There have been reports of attacks against Christians, and Aceh authorities have publicly caned six people accused of breaching Sharia.

Besides Aceh, minority Christians fear attacks elsewhere in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, Worthy News established.

Barnabas Fund asked its supporters to both pray for Christians in Aceh as well as for the religious minister who they hope “will respond positively to the Christians appeal.”

It comes amid pressure on Indonesian President

Joko Widodo to improve the plight of the country’s roughly 33 million Christians.

Indonesia ranks 47th on the Open Doors annual World Watch List of 50 nations where it says Christians suffer most for their faith.