Local officials sealed shut a church building in West Java Province, Indonesia, on April 1, two weeks after Muslims intruded into a worship service and demanded its closure, church leaders reported.
The congregation of the Simalungun Christian Protestant Church, located about 60 miles southeast of Jakarta, had refused to bow to demands to stop worship during the March 19 confrontation.
Local authorities said the structure was illegal and that it lacked approval and a certificate of proper function, Morning Star News reported. The closing of the church building a week before Easter reportedly came without prior notification.
The church had never had any conflict with area residents until the disruption of the church service, sources said.
Indonesia ranked 33rd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. Indonesian society has adopted a more conservative Islamic character, and churches involved in evangelistic outreach are at risk of being targeted by Islamic extremist groups, according to Open Doors’ WWL report.