The days of holding sermons outside of an established church are about to come to an end for Taman Yasmin Indonesia Christian Church (GKI Yasmin) in Bogor, as the congregation is going to finally get the home they were promised after 15 years of being denied by legal hurdles and religious intolerance.
The Bogor City Administration has donated a plot of land measuring 1,668 square meters for the construction of the house of worship, not far from where the church was originally intended to be built.
“After the signing of this donation, the land has come under the ownership of GKI Yasmin. The administration will now wait for documents from GKI Yasmin for an immediate issuance of a construction permit (IMB),” Bogor Mayor Bima Arya said yesterday.
In the mid-2000s, GKI Yasmin acquired government approval to build a church, but opposition from Muslim groups in the area stalled construction and eventually forced the church’s closure. Despite successful legal appeals — the congregation won a Supreme Court decision in 2010 — local authorities have refused to enforce the decision and the church remains closed.
The dispute has since become one of the most renowned denials to freedom of religious expression through intolerance in Indonesia.
GKI Yasmin pastor Tri Santoso said he’s glad the dispute is coming to an end.
“This represents the state being there for the Christians of Bogor so we can now worship in peace,” he said.
The Bogor chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) — the highest Islamic clerical body in Indonesia — also welcomed the land donation.
“Those who caused unrest do not have Bogor DNA, I’m sure,” chapter chairman Mustofa Abdullah said.