Activists to light 1,000 candles in rally against ministerial decree on houses of worship

Jakarta, Indonesia - Hundreds of activists united in the Religious Freedom Solidarity Forum (FKSB) plan to light 1,000 candles at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle Thursday evening in Jakarta in a rally to demand the President withdraw a 2006 joint ministerial decree on houses of worship.

Stefanus Gusma, the event coordinator, told Thursday that around 1,500 people would join the rally.

A 2006 joint ministerial decree requires local consent for sites for houses of worship, provided religious leaders agreed.

The Religious Affairs Ministry said Wednesday that it was open to revisions of the decree.

Critics have argued that the joint ministerial decree – signed by the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Home Ministry – has made it difficult for minority religious groups to establish houses of worship, thus posing a possible violation of their constitutional rights.

Calls to amend the decree mounted following the attack on congregation members of the HKBP church in Bekasi on Sunday. Two church leaders were injured in the incident.