Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Govt told to revoke Decree on HOuse of Worship

The Jakarta Post runs the latest articles today that says critics have demanded the government revoke a 2006 ministerial decree on obtaining building permits for house of worship, saying the regulation was often abused to suppress freedom and minority rights.

It further reports that the Regional representatives Council Speaker Irmam Gusman critizized Yudhoyono for washing his hands of the issue by delegating the search for a solution to the Bekasi mayor.

"The President has turned a blind eye to the seriious violations of religious freedom and the use of violence in the name of a certain religion," International Center for Islam and Pluralism executive director M. Syafi'i Anwar said.

Advocates of pluralism were shocked by an incident Sunday when hard-line Muslims, opposed to a plan by the HKBP church to construct a house of worship in the area, attacked the congregation members, leaving two church leaders injured, one critically from a stab wound.

Critics say Ministerial Decrees 8 and 9 jointly issued by the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Home Ministry in 2006 allowed for multiple interpretations and were "manipulated" by Muslim hardliners and the Bekasi administration as a pretext to deny congregation members a presence in the area.

On the cyber front, 4,656 people signed an online petition at urging the government to find with what has been allowed to happen," Hera Diani, one of the organizers of the petition, said.