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Church in Indonesia forced out of its building comment (0)

February 6, 2014

DERMOLO, Indonesia — A small church in Central Java, Indonesia, celebrated a reopening in December 2013 after struggling for more than a decade to keep its worship facility. However, the celebration was cut short when the building was closed before Christmas because of protests from hardline Islamists.

The church, a branch of an established Mennonite denomination called the Evangelical Church on the Land of Java, has a valid building permit, Pastor Teofilus Tumijan said, but Jepara County Regent H. Akhmad Marzuki issued an order Dec. 16 temporarily stopping the services there.

The church, which was founded in 1999, has enjoyed the support of many moderate Muslims. 

In 1999 the village head suggested that the Christians build a worship facility, and the congregation scraped up enough money to purchase land in 2000. After a long process involving meetings with local Muslim leaders, they obtained a building permit March 9, 2002.

Soon after completion of the building the Muslim Solidarity Forum of Dermolo objected and a long series of struggles began. The latest round of conflict began Aug. 27, 2013. 

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