Indonesian Churches Face Election Concerns

Photo Credit: Gunawan Kartapranata
Photo Credit: Gunawan Kartapranata

(Open Doors USA) Continue to pray for churches in Indonesia’s Aceh Singkil regency, especially as they are facing yet another potential setback in the local election.

Last October, nine churches in Aceh Singkil regency were torn down following religious violence on October 13 that left a church burned, one person dead and an estimated 8,000 Christians displaced. Muslim extremists demanded that two other churches, known for their large congregations, be demolished by Oct. 23. A local church leader lamented that “[t]he government gave in to the extremists’ demand.”

The 11 churches that were shut down in last year’s wave of religious violence are still struggling to obtain the needed building permits. Recently, Singkil’s public works department announced that the churches must review their buildings’ plans and size. The stipulated formula for determining building dimensions is the number of church members owning a local identity card times 0.8 meters. As a result, churches whose congregations mostly come from outside villages will be allotted smaller buildings.

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