SURABAYA, Indonesia — A regional official in Indonesia announced Dec. 17 that religious Christmas celebrations in Java Island’s Maja District could not be held without government approval.
An agreement struck with the multi-faith Forum for Religious Harmony restricted Christmas observances to groups that meet in venues with permits. In Maja District minority faith groups encounter daunting requirements for obtaining permits to build houses of worship.
Indonesia is predominantly Muslim and Morning Star News said the district has no churches for minority faiths.
The ban on celebrations was established though the national government has instituted no such restrictions.
The regional official suggested Christians travel 12 miles on public transit to Rangkasbitung District to participate in secular Christmas celebrations, Morning Star reported, quoting the Kompas.com news source.
According to Andreas Yewangoe, former head of the Communion of Indonesian Churches, the ban violates Indonesia’s constitution and Pancasila (the government’s policy for unity and social justice).
Indonesia is No. 28 on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.