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Jakarta Post

Home minister defends closure of Aceh churches

  • Bagus BT Saragih

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, October 27 2012   /  10:40 am

Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi has defended the decision of the Aceh local administration to close down nine churches, saying the buildings do not have the required permits.

The closing of the churches had reportedly caused hundreds of Christians in the Aceh provincial capital to live in fear.

“It was a permit matter, so it’s actually not closures. I have talked to the Aceh governor [Zaini Abdullah] and he said that the permits were not issued because [the churches] failed to meet the requirements set by the joint ministerial decree,” Gamawan told the press at the Presidential Office on Thursday.

The minister was referring to the 2006 joint ministerial decree on the construction of houses of worship, which has stoked controversy because it was considered not to be in line with the spirit of religious tolerance.

“If [the churches] had managed to provide al...