INDONESIA — Muslims prevented two Christian congregations from celebrating Christmas even as Indonesia’s Muslim president urged people of different faiths to live in harmony.
Muslims formed a barrier outside the house where Batak Christian Church in Cilebut Barat was to meet to celebrate Christmas, Morning Star News reported.
Similarly, about 20 Muslims prevented members of Rototok Advent Church in Buyat Selatan village on the island of Sulawesi from having a Christmas worship service in a home, Morning Star said, quoting the news source detik.com.
In both cases the Muslims objected to congregants meeting in a home instead of a church building. However, the process for obtaining a permit to build a house of worship in Indonesia is often insurmountable.
The interferences occurred even as Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited two churches in Bogor, the first such presidential visit in Indonesia’s 77-year history.
The president, a Muslim, stated that day that Christians should be able to celebrate Christmas peacefully, Morning Star reported.
Indonesia is No. 33 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.