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Muslim Group Disrupts Christian Worship in Indonesia’s North Sumatra

A video has emerged showing a group of Muslims in North Sumatra Province, Indonesia, interrupting a worship service at the Mawar Sharon Church (Gereja Mawar Sharon, GMS) in Binjai Kota Sub-District. 

The incident, which occurred on July 2, was the second disruption faced by the church in as many months.

In the video shared on social media, a hijab-clad Muslim woman, accompanied by a police officer, can be seen loudly objecting to the Christian worship service and questioning the presence of a church in a Muslim-majority area. She asserts that as Muslims, they have a responsibility to disrupt the service. Her comments, uploaded on Instagram by permadiaktivis2 on July 6 and quoted by Kilat.com, highlight her belief that mutual respect is necessary, as per government regulations, but claims that such respect has not been reciprocated.

Religious rights activist Permadi Arya, also known as Abu Janda, expressed his objection to the disruption in the commentary section of the post. He questioned the notion that non-Muslims are prohibited from worshiping in Muslim areas and referred to Indonesia’s Joint Ministerial Decree of 2006, which stipulates that permits are only required for permanent worship venues and not for places like cafés or homes.

According to Arya, Christian worship in cafés, homes, and shop-houses should be treated equally to Muslim traditional prayer-rooms (musholla), which do not require permission. He emphasized the need for fair treatment and equal rights for Christians in Indonesia.

This incident marks the second time the Mawar Sharon Church has experienced such disruptions, with the previous incident occurring on May 19 when a group of at least 40 Muslims interrupted a midday service at the café.

Indonesia, ranked 33rd on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of countries where it is challenging to be a Christian, has seen a shift towards a more conservative Islamic character in society. Churches engaged in evangelistic activities are particularly vulnerable to targeting by extremist Islamic groups, as highlighted in the World Watch List report.

The report also noted that obtaining permission for church buildings can be difficult for non-traditional churches in some regions of Indonesia, often due to bureaucratic hurdles and disregard for their paperwork by the authorities…read more

Original News Source: Morning Star News

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