Church leaders welcome review of Indonesian religion laws

Catholic leaders in Indonesia have welcomed an announcement that the government will review religion laws that critics say restricts constitutional protections to religious freedoms.

“The most important thing is that freedom of religion and of worship guaranteed in the constitution must not be narrowed with regulations that can create problems,” Father Guido Suprapto, the Indonesian bishops’ laity commission secretary, told ucanews.com.

Legislation, enacted in 2006, laid out onerous requirements to build places of worship.

This has particularly impacted religious minorities in Muslim-majority communities.

Church officials, for example, are obligated to provide a list of names and signatures of 90 worshippers and get signed support from at least 60 local residents along with the approval of a village head.

The legislation provoked a spate of church demolitions this year in Aceh province, where authorities took down places of worship that did not possess required permits.

In one incident, a group of Muslim hard-liners torched a Protestant church.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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