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Home Affairs Minister Saddened by 'Rumored' Demands for Church Closures
in Aceh
 Jun 14, 2012 06:28 PDT 

From Joyo

The Jakarta Globe
June 13, 2012

Home Affairs Minister Saddened by 'Rumored' Demands for Church Closures
in Aceh

Ezra Sihite

Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi said that he was disheartened by
"rumored" demands to close 20 churches in Aceh, explaining that local
residents need to accept that Indonesia is a pluralistic nation with
more than one recognized religion.

The minister was responding to a rumor that residents of the
conservative Islamic province have demanded the closure of 20
churches. Last month, 16 storefront churches — locally called
“undung-undungs” — were shut down in the Aceh Singkil district amid
demands from local Muslim groups.

Gamawan warned Aceh residents to resist religious intolerance.

"Let people of a different religion build a place of worship if they
want to," Gamawan said. "The majority shouldn't force their views on
the minority. Tolerance should continue to exist."

The minister heard the rumor from Aceh's newly-elected governor
Tarmizi Karim. The two men have discussed the issue and share similar
opinions on the matter, Gamawan said.

"The governor told me about this issue. I said, 'please obey existing
regulations,'” Gamawan said. “We live together. We’re pluralistic,
and there is more than just one religion in this country."

Aceh, Indonesia's westernmost province, practices a local version of
Shariah law that bans everything from unmarried couples fraternizing
after dark to skinny jeans.

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