Authorities in Aceh demolish Christian churches

Indonesian security forces tore down three small Christian churches in Aceh on Monday.

Hardline Muslims demanded their closure, citing a lack of building permits, and following religious violence.

Local government security officers used sledgehammers to raze two small Protestant churches and a Catholic church – modest buildings of wood, concrete and tin – in the southern district of Aceh Singkil, as Christians looked on and wept.

Authorities say that seven more churches will be torn down in the coming days, following meetings between the Muslim and Christian communities about the issue.

In the previous week a hundreds-strong, stick-wielding mob razed a church in the district to the ground, and then fought with Christians in clashes that left one dead and four other people injured.

The only province in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country allowed to implement Islamic law, Aceh has been introducing more sharia regulations in recent years, and critics say minorities are being increasingly targeted.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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