Christian Charged With Assault in Bogor Church Fight
An embattled Indonesian church at the center of a long-running dispute with Indonesian authorities that has attracted headlines around the world, confirmed on Monday that one of its members has been named a suspect by police for alleged assault.
Bona Sigalingging, spokesman for the GKI Yasmin church in Bogor near Jakarta, told the Jakarta Globe that West Java Police had named Jayadi Damanik a suspect.
The charges relate to an incident in October last year when Bambang Budiyanto, the chief of the Bogor administration’s Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), was allegedly knocked unconscious during a confrontation with worshippers.
Bona said that the church had reported Bambang to police for using violence to obstruct a religious ceremony and Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto for obstructing a religious service.
“Out of all of our reports to the police, West Java Police only followed up on one case,” Bona said, referring to the charges laid against Jayadi.
Contact on Monday morning, Jayadi confirmed he was on his way to West Java Police headquarters in the provincial capital Bandung.
Bona said again a victim was being treated like a criminal.
“This is what happened to Ahmadiyah,” Bona said, referring to a minor Islamic sect that has suffered ongoing intimidation by government officials and hard-line organizations.
On Sunday, the embattled congregation took its Sunday service 60 kilometers
north of its usual spot in Bogor to the front of the State Palace in
Jakarta in a bid to get the president to directly resolve a
“We want the attention of the central
government, particularly the president. We have endured years of
discrimination,” Bona said on Sunday.
GKI Yasmin church has been illegally sealed off by the Bogor city
administration on the pretext that congregation leaders doctored a
petition needed to obtain a building permit.
The church has been offered a new location and compensation, but so far it has refused to move.
2008, the congregation has been forced to hold Sunday services on the
sidewalk outside the church or in the homes of parishioners, in the face
of continued protests and intimidation by Islamic hard-line groups.
Mayor Diani Budiarto has come under criticism for ignoring a 2010
Supreme Court order to lift a ban he placed on the church in 2008. He
has insisted there were indications that the congregation falsified
local residents’ signatures of support for the construction of the
Bona said the dispute is no longer a local matter, given the mayor’s defiance of the rule of law.
fact, [Diani] has let radical intolerant groups intimidate the
congregation repeatedly, with increasing intensity,” Bona said.
Rain that drenched much of Jakarta on Sunday failed to deter the congregation from staging its service in front of the palace.
Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Indah Kurnia attended the
service and called for intervention from the central government.
it takes is a little courage from the president and his ministers to
take action against the mayor,” Indah said, adding that the president
should see the case as a test determining the future of religious
freedom in the country.
“I am surprised. [It is] as if we are
not living in Indonesia. The case better suits other countries that do
not recognize religious freedom and diversity,” she said.
Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi said earlier that he would personally
make sure the ongoing dispute in Bogor was resolved peacefully.
held a meeting last week with several Muslim leaders to discuss the
long-standing conflict and said he would devise a number of options for
the embattled congregation.
But Bona said the church did not
need a political resolution that compromised the court’s ruling. “This
is a legal matter and there has been a decision by the Supreme Court,
which the mayor refuses to comply with,” he said.
In a statement
released on Thursday, Amnesty International urged the government to
“take adequate measures to guarantee the safety of [the GKI Yasmin
congregation] so that they can practice their religion free from attacks
The global rights activists also urged
“prompt, independent and impartial investigations into all reports of
intimidation, harassment and attacks.”