Indonesia’s Aceh to close churches

Indonesia’s Aceh to close churches

JAKARTA: Authorities in Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province say several Christian churches will be shut down this week, just days after a mob burned down a church, killing one person and injuring several others.


Tensions have been high among the ethnically and religiously diverse population of Aceh, raising the risk of further religious violence in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim population.


The vast majority of Indonesians practice a moderate form of Islam and Aceh is the only province to adhere to Islamic Sharia law, putting it at odds with the rest of the country.


Aceh was granted special autonomy as part of a 2005 agreement to end decades of separatist violence, which allowed it to implement Sharia law.


Christian groups in Aceh Singkil district, where the churches stand, had been consulted on the matter, authorities said, and members of as many as six churches had agreed to dismantle their houses of worship after admitting they did not have the required building permits.