The Islamic Forum Community (FUI) and other Islamist organisations have sealed off the Santa Clara Church in Bekasi, east of Jakarta, and torn down its sign. They have protested the church since it obtained its permit in July 2015, claiming church leaders used false identity cards to get it. Local law enforcement agencies failed to intervene on the church’s behalf, leaving its congregation in “fear and uncertainty”, according to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

Although the Bekasi mayor defended the church against FUI’s argument that the church had been built in a majority Muslim area and refused to annul the permit, little is being done on the ground. “Law enforcement agencies have failed to protect the Santa Clara Church congregants; in fact, it seems the agencies have no will or policy to enforce the law against the vigilantes. As a result, the church congregation lives under pressure and intimidation,” said the AHRC in a letter of appeal. READ MORE