Shopping Mall Churches

Apr 28th, 2008, in News, by

Mall ChurchChurch services in malls, people in West Java are flocking to shopping malls in order to pray.

"Indonesians seek salvation in shops":

Shopping malls in West Java are home to a growing number of Christian congregations. There are 10 in this mall alone.

Few of them want to talk publicly about why they are here, but off the record they admit it comes down to intimidation by Muslim groups.

According to Church groups more than 100 churches have faced attack or intimidation in the past two years.

The example given in the BBC article is the Gereja Kristen Pasundan (see Anti Apostasy) church in Bandung, which has been attacked several times recently.

The GKP is unable to gather the 90 signatures necessary to gain formal permission, as per the houses of worship law.

Only 20% of the churches in this province have an official permit to hold religious services.

Although the lack of a permit probably applies to most mosques, as well, considering that according to an official in Surabaya, East Java, 90% of the houses of worship in that city don't have a permit, irrespective of which religion. tempo

Saipul Abdullah of the Islamic Defenders Front explains that the FPI have a three-step process for dealing with illegal churches:

  • ask for proof of their legal status
  • issue a warning letter
  • inform the police

There may be a fourth step which is not mentioned. From http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7368877.stm.


90 Comments on “Shopping Mall Churches”

  1. avatar Rob says:

    Indeed, what a difference such a small little dot will make!

    Maybe, there are two lessons here! One of those would be read more carefully the words of others before seeking to belittle their views. The second is the much more simple suggestion that Lairedion makes regarding punctuation formalities (although this is a blog and informal at best)…Such as my use of ellipsis dots to end sentences and separate paragraphs (grammatically incorrect, but it gets worse as I teach English to lawyers; sad isn’t it? 😀 )

    Nevertheless, the exchange of punctuation and spelling tips is probably as important as the exchange of ideas in terms of preventing misunderstandings!

  2. avatar timdog says:

    Rob – I too am a massive fan of the ellipsis…
    No other element of punctuation, not even the comma, has such versatility or subtlety…
    Technically it ought only to indicate an ommission, but for me it does so much more…
    It is condemned by some as symptomatic of unfinished thoughts; but I would suggest that where a thought remains unfinished then perhaps the reader might be prompted to finish it for themselves…
    What’s more, the ellipsis can function as a less cutesy 😉 indicating perhaps that the sentence is tongue-in-cheek, deliberately provocative, or sly…
    Praise be to the ellipsis; long may it endure…

  3. avatar rima says:

    no provocation was intended. i tend to be too lazy to capitalize during comments.

    But I will try my best to do so starting now. I did not think it would confuse people at all. Thanks Lairedion.

    Rob, perhaps you can teach me grammatically incorrect English punctuation you teach to those lawyers. 😉

  4. avatar Lairedion says:

    timdog,

    Hilarious comment. Why not spend an ode to the ellipsis in poetic form in which you can express your unconditional and eternal love?

  5. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ djoko

    What I wasn’t aware of was that people could be like that in Western countries too….

    Did you ever hear of this kind of behaviour in the West before 9/11?
    Couldn’t it be that this abusive behaviour is based on the fact that in the eyes of the West the Muslim community isn’t doing enough to prevent or even condemn such terrorist actions? That in many Muslim communities, Indonesia included, these actions have even led to triumphalist demonstrations. Couldn’t it be that under these circumstances the wearing of the kerudung in the West tends to be regarded as provocative? Are you sure that it never is meant as provocation?

  6. avatar timdog says:

    Lairedion – oh go on then, just for you:

    Ode to Dots

    Oh ellipsis,
    I offer you my kiss,
    In such pure and simple form: a dot, a dot, a dot,
    You say so much of what may be, what is, and what is not,
    Ellipsis, the wisdom that you hold within your gulf of unsaid words,
    A silent song that floats upon the feathered flight of birds,
    To greater heights than lifetimes’ worth of prose,
    That through dot-banded clear omission flows,
    I praise thee, pock-marked triumvirate – ellipsis
    And swear that I do not – dot dot dot dot – take the piss…

    😉

  7. avatar gigi says:

    @ Janma :

    who said they can just fornicate whenever they want….? Damn, why do they always trot that argument out? As if it’s accepted in the west to commit adultery! It’s not you know!

    And all along I thought “free-sex” came from the West, I had no idea that in fact I couldn’t be farther from the truth 😀

    Besides, even if adultery is still socially unacceptable in some quarters of the Western society, religiously condemned, etc etc, but I think that facts speaks louder than mere words. Ah but perhaps we shouldn’t use the word “fornicate” because it’s just so negative, maybe words like “consensual sex”, “living together”, or even “one night stand” are more ‘acceptable’ in this instance.

    Most men would find their suitcase in front of the door if they tried it…. western women have other options to sustain their lives and those of their children without having to put up with that! I’ve know a few men to lose their jobs, positions and status in society for committing adultery

    And the age-old adage goes “whatever you do, don’t get caught”. Not if their wives didn’t know about it they don’t. 😉

    and since western culture is based on Christianity and one of Christianity’s main precepts is to NOT commit adultery, I don’t see how you can even say that it is accepted in the west!

    Perhaps theoretically the Western culture is based on Christianity, but let’s just be honest, most Westerners nowadays are either non-practicing Christians or Atheists/Agnostics. And when was the last time religion or religious decrees played a dominant role in determining the behavior (way of life) of most Westerners, if I may ask?

    Sure they don’t stone people to death who commit adultery, that doesn’t mean it is accepted!

    Well, if Westerners are as religious as what you tried to picture them to be in your previous statements, than maybe they should stone fornicators. It was ordained in the OT you know, or did God canceled that particular commandment? Oh that’s right, humans canceled that one, because that kind of corporal punishment is unsuitable with human rights.

    So are Westerners religious people (who based their way of life on what God/their religion had ordained) or not religious, Janma?

    Plus, to tell you the truth, almost all my friends, Indonesian and otherwise who have Indonesian (Muslim) husbands, have had them commit adultery at some point, if not continuously.

    That’s why whoever said that Indonesians are religious people obviously doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I think that at most only 10% of Indonesians are truly religious, the rest are hypocritical wannabes and ritual addicts in their religious duties.

    @ dewaratugedenenenanom:

    Those in the church will probably turn the other cheek.

    Yo surfer dude, we’re not talking about the church in Jesus’ time, we’re talking about today’s churches in Indonesia. Seriously (and realistically if I might add), if you dare and do such things in an Indonesian church now, then the only cheek they will turn is your butt cheeks up side down so that they can kick them as hard as they can with their boots, and hit your head with whatever blunt object they can find.

    Don’t trust me? Then take the challenge! Surfs up! 😉

    I suppose you mean ‘can you walk the talk’. 🙂

    That was the shorter version of it. I think that the longer version was “you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”. Obviously, I quoted from the latter. 😉

    So can you walk the walk, surfer dude? It’s easy to be an arm-chair bigot, let’s prove it on the real world for change.

    Couldn’t it be that under these circumstances the wearing of the kerudung in the West tends to be regarded as provocative? Are you sure that it never is meant as provocation?

    What you said is basically along the lines of statements like these: Are you sure that building churches without permit is not meant as a provocation for Muslims? Are you sure your semi pagan Hindu rituals are not meant as a provocation for other monotheistic religions?

    Well, according to your logic, performing religious duties within a certain religion can be viewed as an act of provocation. But tell me dewa, are you sure you’re not a bigoted buffoon?

  8. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    I believe someone is stalking me. And these little smiles. Lovely.

  9. avatar Lairedion says:

    I believe someone is stalking me. And these little smiles. Lovely.

    Yeah, she (gigi) obviously has a crush on you, you lucky chap! It must be her weak spot on surfer dudes and Kuta cowboys. 🙂

  10. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Yes Lairedion, a Kuta cowboy’s burden. Aduh.

  11. avatar djoko says:

    Did you ever hear of this kind of behaviour in the West before 9/11?
    Couldn’t it be that this abusive behaviour is based on the fact that in the eyes of the West the Muslim community isn’t doing enough to prevent or even condemn such terrorist actions? That in many Muslim communities, Indonesia included, these actions have even led to triumphalist demonstrations. Couldn’t it be that under these circumstances the wearing of the kerudung in the West tends to be regarded as provocative? Are you sure that it never is meant as provocation?

    Is this a long-winded way of saying the firebombing of mosques or of abusing people wearing kerudung is justified? Or otherwise ‘understandable’? Just trying to make sure I’m getting things right.

  12. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @djoko

    Is this a long-winded way of saying the firebombing of mosques or of abusing people wearing kerudung is justified? Or otherwise ‘understandable’? Just trying to make sure I’m getting things right.

    No, it is just an invitation to try seeing things from another, also victim’s, perspective. But I understand from your answer that this is a difficult, if not impossible, task for selfrighteous Muslims.

  13. avatar djoko says:

    No, it is just an invitation to try seeing things from another, also victim’s, perspective. But I understand from your answer that this is a difficult, if not impossible, task for selfrighteous Muslims.

    I’ve got no problem with that. On the other hand I don’t see you ever making excuses when Muslims go around torching churches either. Quite the opposite in fact.

  14. avatar Janma says:

    Well, if Westerners are as religious as what you tried to picture them to be in your previous statements, than maybe they should stone fornicators. It was ordained in the OT you know, or did God canceled that particular commandment? Oh that’s right, humans canceled that one, because that kind of corporal punishment is unsuitable with human rights.

    So are Westerners religious people (who based their way of life on what God/their religion had ordained) or not religious, Janma?

    Some are, some aren’t obviously! just like anywhere! you don’t have to be religious to have morals you know! What I’m saying is that in the west illicit sex around isn’t universally accepted as ‘allowed’. Just like in Indonesia, it happens, but people will admit it, and accept it as part of human nature, it happens. Whereas people like you would rather hide it and pretend it doesn’t happen, and somehow that’s moral?!

    Besides, even if adultery is still socially unacceptable in some quarters of the Western society, religiously condemned, etc etc, but I think that facts speaks louder than mere words. Ah but perhaps we shouldn’t use the word “fornicate” because it’s just so negative, maybe words like “consensual sex”, “living together”, or even “one night stand” are more ‘acceptable’ in this instance.

    Oh Sh@t! suddenly I just can’t be bothered!!!

    janma:
    read it again will you:

    ignorant and narrow minded people filled with hatred exist in all countries.

    there is a period after the word ‘countries’ then it goes to a whole new sentence. Good thing it’s only my writing you’re quoting bit by bit, no worries of a flock of FPIers coming your way.

    You are right, sorry rima, lack of capitalization made me not see the dot! still the second sentence is hard to make sense of… sorry…. do you mean that racism and bigotry is only thought to be bad in non-western countries???

    except in western countries, people who do that usually gets persecuted and it’s widely taught that intolerance and discrimination/racism is of bad moral values.

    I’m confused?

  15. avatar rima says:

    @janma: I should really stop writing things without proof reading lol.
    what I meant to say was “ignorant and narrow minded people filled with hatred exist in all countries, but in western countries … ”

    So, it’s bad anywhere, but the majority of the uneducated people in, say, indonesia, maybe haven’t realized it (due to blind faith in their religion, perhaps?)

    When something like that (bigotry or discrimination against religion/race/ethnic background/gender/sexual preference etc) happens to a person in a western country, if they report it, in most cases action will be taken. They can sue the person/s doing whatever it is that offended/harmed them and so on. Not in Indonesia. Although it is not as bad as Iraq (There was a man in Iraq who killed his teen daughter because she harbors a crush on an infidel british soldier. he caught her talking to him in public and he killed her. she died a virgin. the police took him to the station and later released and congratulated him for killing her) but it’s bad enough.

    I think religion as an obligatory school subject in Indonesia should be eliminated, it should just be taught at home or as an extra curricular activity, and instead, Indonesian kids should just be taught moral like here in Europe, and maybe tolerance and love? Religion doesn’t mean sh*t when a person has trouble knowing which is of good or bad moral values. Plus without the religion school subject, the kids will not feel boxed and different from one another, they will be more sensitive towards their friends and be more compassionate. Again, wishful thinking on my part…

  16. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    gigi said

    if you dare and do such things in an Indonesian church now, then the only cheek they will turn is your butt cheeks up side down so that they can kick them as hard as they can with their boots

    Do Indonesian Christians wear boots in churches?

  17. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    Lairedion said

    Muslims are treated well in the West, better than in their countries of origin but it’s never enough for them. They demand respect and special treatment (in stead of earning it) and they know a whole bunch of PC bules is willing to help them with ridiculous demands such as:

    – separate swimming sessions for Muslimas
    – separate graveyards
    – musholla’s at workplace
    – halal kitchens at uni’s
    – implementation of sharia law parts into British Law (aided by Super PC Bule Rowan Williams of the Anglican Church).

    And claiming university aulas for sholat.

  18. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @djoko

    I’ve got no problem with that. On the other hand I don’t see you ever making excuses when Muslims go around torching churches either. Quite the opposite in fact.

    You may or may not believe me, it won’t change a thing, but before 9/11 and 12/10 I respected your religion as I thought it was just another way to come to terms with the uncertainties of existence. Then, as many others, I wanted to understand and started reading the Qur’an and (part of) the hadith. I am not entirely uneducated and I assure you that I studied it carefully, taking into account the different culture- and timeframe when they were written and assembled, just like I would study the Bible, the Veda’s, Gita, Upanishads, Tipitaka or Tao-te-Tjing.
    But the more I read, the more I understood what the Islam-ideology boils down to and I’m afraid it will take much more than a few gratuitous contentions of so-called scholars that Islam is a religion of peace to make me change my mind, the more so because I also read newspapers and watch television. Also here in IM, with a few exceptions like Mohamed Khafi – who has disappeared from the screen and who also preferred to remain incognito for fear of repercussions from fellow believers – the contents of the messages from Muslim posters are not promising to bring about a change of perception. Some may take offence at my style of writing but as long as it serves its purpose to denounce what Islam is basically about I will continue reacting the way I do.

  19. avatar timdog says:

    Dewa – so just to clarify – because you have concluded through your extensive study of scripture that Islam is a “religion of hate and violence” and ergo all Muslims are hateful and violent, you believe that violent attacks on Muslims and Muslim places of worship are either justified, or at least less wrong than violent attacks on the followers and places of worship of other religions?… right?

    With regards the “Muslims” who make “unpromising” comments here, I think you know full well that at least a few of them are not really Muslims at all…

  20. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @ timdog
    I can’t remember I ever said all Muslims are hateful and violent nor that violent attacks on Muslims and Muslim places of worship are justified. If you ever came across such a statement of mine then please point it out to me.
    For me it would be the same as saying that all Germans during WW2 were Nazi-murderers.

  21. avatar timdog says:

    dewa – I genuinely apologise for making that inference, but given your last post but one, starting with djoko’s quote highlighting an apparent double standard, and then going on, not to to defend yourself against that accusation, but to explain why you think Islam is hateful and violent, perhaps you understand why i sought that clarification?

  22. avatar djoko says:

    @ dewa

    I can respect where you’re coming from and I can see you’re hardly uneducated. I’ve read up a lot on Qur’an, Hadits and tafsir and have contacts with Muslims from the full spectrum of the liberal-secular to the radical-conservative. Obviously I’ve had a different experience with Islam as a religion and as a community, but then again thats not really what I was trying to point out with what you were talking about above. If you want to denounce what ‘Islam is basically all about’ thats fine, and in fact I’ll likely be in agreement with you in denouncing particular things, though I won’t be in agreement that the things you are denouncing are ‘what Islam is basically all about’.

    The impression I was getting from your original response was this: Muslims burning down churches = bad, never ever ever justifiable and certainly never ever understandable. Non-Muslims firebombing mosques and abusing Muslim women on the other hand is, if not justified, at the very least understandable. Simple yes or no, is this what you meant?

    I myself see the burning down of any place of worship or abusing women whether they be Muslim or non-Muslim as definitely not being justifiable nor a particularly understandable reaction to something. Furthermore I base this on my understanding of Islam.

  23. avatar djoko says:

    Sorry my post was a bit late coming there dewa and you have officially said:

    I can’t remember I ever said all Muslims are hateful and violent nor that violent attacks on Muslims and Muslim places of worship are justified.

    Though perhaps they are understandable in the post 9/11 world?

  24. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @timdog (this concerns djoko too)

    Maybe you skipped a post but I explained to djoko that my earlier comment was meant as an invitation to look at things from another, also victim’s point of view (see my comment of march 19th 12:08). In other words I was talking like a lawyer explaining the motives of his clients. If Amrozi’s lawyer presents possible motives and explanations for his client’s despicable acts, will you also suspect him of using double standards when he, being a Muslim too, condemns the use of violence in the name of religion in a case like, let’s say, Poso?

    But it still puzzles me that double standards are always invoked when it comes to detract those who speak out against obvious provocations and subversion. Sounds to me like another case of PCB.

  25. avatar djoko says:

    In other words I was talking like a lawyer explaining the motives of his clients. If Amrozi’s lawyer presents possible motives and explanations for his client’s despicable acts, will you also suspect him of using double standards when he, being a Muslim too, condemns the use of violence in the name of religion in a case like, let’s say, Poso?

    To answer your question, yes, he does have double standards. He’s far more interested in the sides that are involved in the issue (Muslims and non-Muslims) rather than the issue itself (violence), and this leads him to take a different stance on the issue depending on the sides involved. When its Muslims perpetrating violence, it seems justified or explainable to him, and when its non-Muslims its not justifiable or understandable. Does this mean you also have double standards then, if you’re essentially saying you’re no different than Amrozi’s lawyer?

    Though I certainly hope its not the case (and please do correct me if I’m wrong), the impression I get seeing comments here sometimes is along these lines as well: that views are crafted not really based on what the actual issue is (be it violence, radicalism, intolerance), but rather who is on the giving end and who is on the receiving end.

    But it still puzzles me that double standards are always invoked when it comes to detract those who speak out against obvious provocations and subversion. Sounds to me like another case of PCB.

    Politically Correct Bullsh*t I assume (of course correct me if I’m wrong)? I’ve actually found that the use of the label ‘politically correct’ as a derogatory term itself in recent times serves much the same purpose as political correctness of old did: trying to shut down debate. If anything its a new form of political correctness in itself (the irony of it all is as humorous as it is depressing).

    As for the line about ‘obvious provocations and subversion’, that’s a line the MUI often uses as well to justify fatwas against this or that, as well as what the FPI uses to go after churches. Don’t you find it scary at all, how much you are sounding precisely like the people you claim to despise so much?

  26. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    djoko

    Though perhaps they are understandable in the post 9/11 world?

    What is understandable in the post 9/11 world is that a lot of people from other denominations started to get a genuine interest in the nature of Islam.

  27. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    djoko

    To answer your question, yes, he does have double standards. He’s far more interested in the sides that are involved in the issue (Muslims and non-Muslims) rather than the issue itself (violence), and this leads him to take a different stance on the issue depending on the sides involved. When its Muslims perpetrating violence, it seems justified or explainable to him, and when its non-Muslims its not justifiable or understandable. Does this mean you also have double standards then, if you’re essentially saying you’re no different than Amrozi’s lawyer?

    If you want to put words in my mouth then just say so and don’t play this pesantren debating tricks on me.
    Habis perkara.

  28. avatar djoko says:

    If you want to put words in my mouth then just say so and don’t play this pesantren debating tricks on me.
    Habis perkara.

    I wasn’t putting words in your mouth. Perhaps you missed the question part of the section you block quoted. I’ll put it up again for you:

    Does this mean you also have double standards then, if you’re essentially saying you’re no different than Amrozi’s lawyer?

  29. avatar djoko says:

    And you’re own words too:

    In other words I was talking like a lawyer explaining the motives of his clients. If Amrozi’s lawyer presents possible motives and explanations for his client’s despicable acts, will you also suspect him of using double standards when he, being a Muslim too, condemns the use of violence in the name of religion in a case like, let’s say, Poso?

    I’m not trying to corner you into any set conclusion or anything, I’m just trying to figure out what you mean by this above blockquote. Sorry this post and the one above it could probably be just merged.

  30. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    Why am I reminded of Christ and the temple money-changers?

    Have the Protestants forgotten that repentance and forgiveness of sin cannot be bought ?

    And exactly which ethnicity are these “Christians”- somehow I am not convinced they are Javanese or Batak, nor any other native Indonesian.

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