North Sumatra protests against Protestant church | 1/18/2019 | Staff
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Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The local Synod of Churches of Indonesia (MPH-PGIW) has condemned the latest "episode of intolerance" against a Protestant community in Medan Labuan, North Sumatra (Sumatera) province.

Three days ago, local Muslims (picture 1) staged a protest that prevented the members of the Bethel Church of Indonesia of Philadelphia (GBI), in Martubung district, from entering a house of prayer.

Authorities - Complaint - Lack - Government - Permits

The authorities claim that the complaint stems from the lack of government permits for the place of worship. Protestant leaders call for changes to the legislation and complain about delays in getting the right papers.

At present, building places of worship, especially by non-Muslims, is one of the most controversial issues in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, and touches the principle of freedom of religion.

Synod - Statement - Yesterday - President - Rev

The Synod issued a statement yesterday (picture 2) signed by its president, Rev Darwis Manurung, and general secretary, Rev Hotma Hutasoit. The organisation says it is "very concerned" and has called on the police to "investigate the case, to find out the reasons" the incident.

What happened "shows that the right to religious practice is easily hindered,” the Synod noted. “The fact that the house of prayer has not yet obtained all the papers should not be an obstacle to the maintenance of the social order".

Office - Ministry - Religious - Affairs - Medan

The local office of the Ministry of Religious Affairs in Medan has excluded the possibility that the motive could be sectarian.

“The house used for prayer is owned by Pastor Jans Frasman Saragih and...
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