Indonesian court revokes church building permit after protests

26 March 2014 | by Liz Dodd

A court in Indonesia has revoked a permit for the construction of a new Catholic church following protests from Islamic extremists.

The president of a local administrative court in West Java, Edi Firmansyah, revoked the 2012 building permit for St Stanislaus Kostka in Cibubur, Bekasi regency, to avoid episodes of "sectarian violence" between religious communities, the website AsiaNews reported.

Judges of the Pengadilan Tata Usaha Negara (PTUN) - the local administrative court - revoked the permit issued in 2012 by the Bekasi mayor Rachmat Effendy.

The ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought by Islamic groups who claimed residents had been manipulated into backing the building project – a charge the church vehemently denied.

The parish priest, Fr Rudianto, said this week that work on the church – which is about 70 per cent built – would be completed because the judges did not specify that on-going work should be stopped.

Earlier this month the Christian charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide issued a report, “Pluralism in Peril”, warning of rising intolerance towards religious minorities in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation. They argued that the increase in hostility had been fuelled by “complicit” local governments.

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