INDONESIAN ISLAMIC ORGANISATIONS have mounted a campaign against the planned construction of a Catholic church in West Java.
Muslim leaders said plans for the Mother Teresa church in the Lippo Cikarang property project in the Cikarang area will make it the largest church building in Bekasi City, according to reports.
Adang Permana, general chairman of the Bekasi Islamic Youth Movement, said Bekasi area Muslims oppose the church building because they fear it will become “a centre of Christianisation,” according to the Islamic website Hidayatullah.com.
“This church will become the centre of apostasy and clearly disturb the faith of Bekasi citizens, who are mostly Muslims,” Permana said, according to the website. “In addition to rejecting this parish church, we also call for the disbanding of all unauthorised churches in Bekasi Regency [City],” he stated. A church leader, however, said area residents had approved the presence of the church.
Permana said opposition to the church was based on the Islamic roots of the city.
“Historically, sociologically, and demographically, Bekasi cannot be separated from Islam, with the cleric KH Noer Ali as one of the founders and developers of the city,” Permana told Hidayatullah.com.
“Because of this, we reject the church.”
H.M. Dahlan, coordinator of United Muslim Action of Bekasi, also expressed fear that the church would become a center of Christianisation in Bekasi.
The Mother Teresa church applied for a building permit in 2006, but the Bekasi government has not yet acted on the application, said a clergyman from the church identified only as Pangestu. He added that his church has met all requirements of 2006 Joint Ministerial Decrees No. 8 and No. 9.
The parish now worships at the Trinity School auditorium.
Mother Teresa Catholic Church began its services on Jan 25, 2004. The church plans to build on an 8,000-square-metre lot near Trinity School.