Ten Christian churches demolished under Sharia law

Ten Christian churches deemed illegal under Sharia law because of a lack of proper “building permits” have been demolished by the  Islamic authorities of Singkil in the Aceh province of Indonesia. The Christian community looked on helplessly as police armed with clubs and hammers destroyed the three small wooden churches, called “undung-undung”. Seven other churches are scheduled for demolition in the next few days.

Local Christians had actually applied for building permits, called Izin Mendirikan Bangunan, several times but the governing Islamic authorities refused to issue them with the necessary permits. Eventually Christians realised they were never going to get the permits so they were forced to go head and build their churches without proper permits as a last resort. 

 “We applied for permission to build a thousand times. At this point we want to know whether the government will ever allow us to have it” stated Paima Brutu, the pastor of one of the demolished churches. Experience shows that obtaining a permit to build a church is very difficult, if not impossible, in Aceh.

The Aceh government’s https://cialischeapprice.com decision to demolish ten Christian churches was taken following a demonstration several weeks ago. Muslims marching under the banner “Aceh Youth Concerned for Islam” protested that the current number of Christian churches exceeded that which was permitted and demanded action from the government against unlicensed churches.

The demonstrators were referring to an agreement of 1979 which stipulated that there should be only one Christian church in in Singkil plus four “undung-undung” (small churches). Prior to the demolition there were 23 undung-undung, the majority without official planning permission.

Local Christians justify the need for more churches because of substantial growth in the Christian population. This is backed up by data from Singkil’s Central Statistic Bureau which shows that the Christian population in the region reached nearly 13,000 in 2013.

 Aceh province in western Indonesia is the most Islamic region in the country and is is known as the “Gateway to Mecca” because of its long association with Islam and the fact that it is a good departure point for the Islamic pilgrimage (hajj) as it is the westernmost tip of the Indonesian archipelago.