INDONESIA: Pastor Forced to Stop Worship Service in Home
Residents reject letter of permission from Religious Affairs department.
JAKARTA, September 25 (Compass Direct News) - Residents in North Jakarta have ordered the pastor of a small congregation to cease holding services in his home, despite a letter of permission issued by the Religious Affairs department. On Sept. 12 village officials in South Rawa Badak, Koja district called a meeting with pastor Syaiful Hamzah and his wife Tiolida Sihotang, police officers, and representatives from the village mosque. At the meeting, officials urged Hamzah and his wife to sign a document agreeing to cease all worship services in their home, effectively rejecting permission granted by Religious Affairs officials. A sympathetic Muslim cleric, Wasi Sholeh, informed Hamzah that “certain people” had made violent threats against him, and that he could not guarantee Hamzah’s safety if he refused to sign the agreement. The couple eventually signed the document under duress.