Christians in Indonesia hold worship service outside president's house to appeal for religious freedoms
Our take: Christians living in Indonesia from various local churches gathered together in front of the home of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to hold a prayer service and request the freedom to worship. After pressures from Islamic extremists, the Taman Yasmin Church building was sealed off to prevent them from holding services. Hoping to find a peaceful resolve to the issue, Christians and other non-Muslim religions are working to show their opposition to the restrictions on their faith and are hoping the Indonesian government will help and support faith equality.
A Christian service of worship held beside a busy road in Jakarta is an unusual sight. However, the Gereja Kristen Indonesia (GKI) Taman Yasmin Church was left with no choice.
Taman Yasmin congregation, along with other local churches, prayed outside Merdeka Palace, residence of Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, on 24 June. The congregation prayed under the gaze of police officials, hoping that their appeals for the freedom to worship will be heard.
The Taman Yasmin Church, located in Bogor, West Java, is a congregation of one of the member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC). The half-finished building of Taman Yasmin Church was sealed off by the local administration in 2008, reportedly under pressure from Islamic hardline political groups like the Islamic People's Forum.
Despite a Supreme Court ruling in favour of the church building in 2011, Taman Yasmin still has not been able to resume its worship services.
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