The Jakarta Post
Among dozens of tourists passing by the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta, more than a hundred parishioners of two Protestant churches, GKI Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia, solemnly sing hymns to praise God and pray for Indonesia.
Undisturbed by the noise of vehicles in the background, the congregation conducted its Sunday service on the pavement outside the west gate of Monas, as a public reminder of its struggle for religious freedom.
“This Sunday service was held to commemorate Independence Day [which falls on Aug. 17],” GKI Yasmin priest Santi Manurung told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
Both churches have been unable to build permanent places of worship in their respective places following pressure from Islamic groups and the administrations’ failure to follow court decisions in their favor.
GKI Yasmin is located in Bogor and HKBP Filadelfia in Bekasi, both in West Java.
“Indonesian independence also pertains to the independence of its citizens, and in this case, the freedom of religion for all Indonesian people,” Erwin Marbun, a priest from HKBP Filadelfia, told the Post.
Besides members of the two church congregations, several Ahmadis, Shiites and Buddhists were at the same location to support the parishioners.
Husna, one of Ahmadis, said that she would fight for religious freedom with others to eradicate discrimination of religious minorities in the country.
Meanwhile, Taqi, a Shiite, said that small groups like theirs, and members of the two churches that were not granted the right to pray in their own houses of worship, should jointly urge the government to end discrimination of minorities. (wnd/evi)