Protestant church leaders in Aceh, Indonesia are pushing for consistent application of Islamic law in the province, after the destruction of 10 churches in the last nine months, UCA reports.
Last August, a mob burned down the Pakpak Dairi Christian Protestant Church, killing one person and forcing thousands of Christians to flee the area. Two months later, Sharia officials tore down nine Christian churches — including two Catholic mission stations — that the officials said had no permits to operate.
Church leaders thought they had reached an agreement with Aceh Singkil district authorities last October for the construction of 13 churches, before being told they had to restart the application process.
Muslim leader Ramli Manik said that local Muslims supported the faith communities “as long as they have church building permits.”
Intolerance, he said, wasn’t the reason the congregations faced opposition. “The problem is that the local government fails to make the process easier.”
At a Taiwan conference on religious freedom in February, Indonesia’s Muhammad Imdadun Rahmat of the National Human Rights Commission said that the constitution of his country guarantees freedom of religion, but that, in practice, intolerance exists in Indonesian society.