The congregation of the Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church ( GKI ) was again confronted by Muslim hard-liners outside its place of worship in Bogor, West Java, on Sunday.
Members of the Indonesian Muslim Communications Forum ( Forkami ) besieged the congregation during GKI Yasmin’s Sunday Mass, hurling verbal abuse at the Christians.
Forkami members demanded that the congregation disperse and stop the Sunday Mass conducted in front of their church, which has been sealed off by the Bogor administration for the last year.
“There were a bunch of police officers who tried to those people from getting more violent, but it looks like that they were not that serious,” GKI Yasmin spokesman Bona Sigalingging said.
Two weeks ago members of Forkami clad in white Muslim garb and wielding rattan sticks attacked the congregation.
Chanting “Allahu Akbar!” ( God is great ), the hard-liners attempted to disrupt the service and break up the gathering, which ended in an altercation between members of Forkami, the congregation and public order officers guarding the service.
Separately, the Bogor municipality assistant for public order, Ade Syarif Hidayat, said that the government had budgeted Rp 3.5 billion ( US$399,000 ) to relocate GKI Yasmin.
“The budget has been earmarked for 2012. The mayor of Bogor has approved the plan. We have even informed the governor of West Java,” Ade said as quoted by tempointeraktif.com.
Ade said that the administration had identified two sites to host GKI Yasmin: the Harmoni building and the former building of the Bogor Regional Elections Commission ( KPUD ).
The relocation was not an administration move to limit religious freedom, Ade said. “We just want them to worship in an orderly manner. We have rented the site for them. But instead they decided to defy our order and perform their Sunday service on the sidewalk.”
GKI Yasmin has been threatened with eviction by the Bogor municipal administration as well as local residents who have questioned the legality of the church.
Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto has consistently refused to reopen the church, defying a Supreme Court ruling in December that struck down a lower court’s order to close the church, which had been filed by the city.
— JP/Hans David Tampubolon