Indonesia: Islamists carry coffin as protest against Christian official

October 7, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

 

Susan Jasmine Zulkifli was appointed sub-district head of Lenteng Agung in June

Susan Jasmine Zulkifli was appointed sub-district head of Lenteng Agung in June

Indonesia, October 01, 2013: Islamist protestors carrying a coffin have stepped up their campaign to force a Christian local authority chief in West Java, Indonesia, out of office.

Susan Jasmine Zulkifli’s appointment as the sub-district head of Lenteng Agung, a strongly Muslim area, has been opposed purely on the grounds of her faith. Islamists have staged protests and gathered a petition demanding she be removed.

In their latest move against her, around 600 residents staged a rally last Wednesday (25 September), carrying a coffin and yellow flags, which are often associated with death and disease.

Nasrullah, the coordinator of the demonstration, said:

This is a symbol of the death of the conscience of the Jakarta administration, which refused to listen to our demands.

Mrs Zulkifli was appointed in June by Joko Widodo, Governor of Jakarta. He has stood by her throughout the protests, saying:

I have said over and over again: I install someone based on his or her merits, not because of his or her religion.

Mr Widodo’s deputy, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is also a Christian, said that the city administration was not afraid of the protestors and called on them to remain peaceful if they wanted to rally.

CHURCH PROTEST

Christians elsewhere in Indonesia are also facing opposition from Islamic extremists. A church in Ciledug, Tangerang recency, Banten province, received a building permit on 11 September, enabling it to re-open after nine years. But as soon as Islamists found out, they launched a protest campaign, demanding that the place of worship be sealed up again.

They took to the streets carrying signs, chanting and making threats. The minister was consequently forced to cancel the second Sunday service last week (22 September).

The church was originally sealed off in 2004 by the Mayor of Tangerang to placate extremists who were opposed to the presence of a church in the area.

The congregation has been forced to hold their services in neighbouring parishes or use makeshift locations.

It is extremely difficult for churches to obtain a building permit in Indonesia; the process can take five to ten years, and local officials often reject applications for “unspecified reasons” because of pressure from Islamic groups.

– barnabas team

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