Ulema Council Condemns Forced Closure of Churches in West Java

September 1, 2005

Source: The Muslim News/Xinhua


On September 1, 2005 Xinhua reported, "The Indonesian Ulema Council, the highest Islamic body, has condemned the much-criticized forced closure of dozens of neighborhood churches in West Java province, saying that such acts were intolerable, the Jakarta Post reported Thursday. But the council has no plans to issue an edict against the violence. The head of the council Umar Shihab said Wednesday that all actions or efforts that disrupted religious activities were a form of violence, and as such could not be justified. 'We really feel sorry and condemn these actions, and the council has clearly never tolerated such arbitrary things by taking the law into one's own hands,' he said during a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission VIII on religion, social and women's affairs. It was reported that at least 23 churches in the province had been forcibly closed by mobs during the past year, which has led several Christian and Muslim figures to call on the government to take legal action against the so-called hard-liners."