Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Repressive era looms in Aceh, Indonesia

The election of a hard-line Islamic governor in Indonesia's Aceh Province in early April appears to have opened the way for a crackdown on the minority Christian community, which saw 17 churches sealed shut in early May.

Emboldened by the election of Zaini Abdullah of the militant Aceh Party (Partai Aceh, or PA), hundreds of Islamists demonstrated in front of the office of Aceh Singkil regency (district-level government) on April 30, demanding area church buildings be not only sealed but demolished.

Christian leaders told Compass Direct News that, besides the usual pretext of lack of church permits –- applications which local authorities routinely deny or delay -- the demands were based on a controversial agreement that Christians reportedly were forced to sign in 2001 stipulating that there be only one church and four chapels in the regency. Read more

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