The Freedom to Worship In Indonesia: Surabaya Village Prohibits Church Construction
In the village of Surabaya, located in the northeast portion of Borneo Island in Indonesia, Christians are facing difficulty from the local Muslim majority when it comes to constructing houses of worship. On March 13th, 2023, it was reported that a church in the village was prohibited from building a place of worship. This is a worrying trend which highlights the difficulties that members of minority religions face in Indonesia when it comes to freedom of religion.
According to Human Rights Watch, the requirements set by the Indonesian government for obtaining permission to build houses of worship in Indonesia remain onerous and pose a major obstacle for people of minority faiths as they try to practice their religion. It is estimated that nearly 90% of Indonesians are Muslim and this majority has a disproportionate amount of power when it comes to religious freedom within the country.
In response to the situation in Surabaya village, it has been reported that the church intends to continue its construction despite the prohibition. This kind of determination to ensure that the freedom to worship is preserved is what should be celebrated and encouraged. The government must also do more to ensure that all faiths are granted the right to practice their religion openly and without fear of persecution or discrimination.
It is essential that action is taken by the authorities in Indonesia to ensure that all faiths are given the freedom to practice their beliefs without interference. This is a fundamental right that must be respected and protected if religious plurality is to be achieved in the country. Furthermore, individuals and organizations globally can help support persecuted Christians worldwide, by donating to organizations such as Morning Star News, which aims to continue raising awareness of these issues through their coverage and reporting. Together, with effort and determination, an equal and just society, where everyone has the right to practice their faith freely, can and will be achieved.