INDONESIA: Construction of churches blocked by extremist groups
Islamic extremist groups have succeeded in blocking the construction of the parish church of St. Clare in Bekasi City, West Java, after a massive demonstration by hundreds of Muslims. They claimed the leaders of the church had obtained a building permit through improper means.
When the mayor of Bekasi, Rahmat Effendi, showed protesters the building permit, they accused him of having forged it on the back of bribes. The Bekasi authorities have staunchly rejected the charges, but for the moment, Effendi has advised Christians to stop the construction of the church. To “minimise tensions”, Catholics will celebrate Sunday Mass at a building owned by the Army.