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Jakarta Post

Govt urged to revise ‘discriminatory’ decree on houses of worship

  • Ardila Syakriah
    Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, February 21, 2020   /  04:23 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
A mass is held at Santo Joseph Catholic Church in Tanjung Balai, Karimun, Riau Islands.(JP/courtesy of St. Joseph Tanjung Balai Karimun parish documentation team)

Amid a series of attacks on churches in Indonesia, observers have demanded the government revise a decree that requires local residents to approve the construction of houses of worship. Since the signing of the 2006 joint ministerial decree on places of worship, religious minorities have struggled to obtain permits to construct them. Although Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of religion for every citizen, the decree requires a congregation to obtain 90 signatures from its members and another 60 from other residents before building a house of worship. It also requires that the congregation obtain an endorsement letter from the local administration and a recommendation letter from the local regional affairs office and the regional interfaith communication forum (FKUB). These obligations have proven difficult for adherents to religions other than Islam, the coun...