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Palm Sunday protest over closed church

Muslims join Christians to throw spotlight on 'discrimination'

Reverend Ujang Tanu Saputra (holding leaves) leads Christians in yesterday’s protest Reverend Ujang Tanu Saputra (holding leaves) leads Christians in yesterday’s protest
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • April 18, 2011
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About 500 Protestants of Taman Yasmin Church in Bogor, West Java, held a Palm Sunday service outside the presidential palace yesterday as sign of protest over a church that remains shuttered by local authorities.
Taman Yasmin church was closed in February 2008, following pressure from a hardliners who accused the Protestants of converting people to Christianity. The Supreme Court overturned the order closing the church earlier this year but still there has been no permission to re-open it.

The three-hour service, led by Reverend Ujang Tanu Saputra, aimed at gaining support for their cause.
“Jesus brought a message of peace. We are asked to bring this message to others,” Reverend Saputra told the gathering.

He asked fellow Christians to spread the message of hope shown by Jesus entering Jerusalem.

Protestant pastors from other denominations, Buddhists, Catholics and Muslim activists joined the service.

“We pray that God will enlighten our nation, so that mutual respect prevails. Indonesia is our common home. Thus, there should not be discrimination against people in this country,”Reverend Andreas A. Yewangoe from the Communion of Churches in Indonesia said.

“We also pray so God will let both central and local governments uphold the constitution and the rights of all people."

Bondan Gunawan, a Muslim activist, told the gatherings that it was not Muslims who violated the constitution but the government.
“Muslims also want to bring peace to and respect all people disregarding their religious backgrounds,” he said.

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