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Catholics fight for their rights in Indonesia

Catholicism and Protestantism are officially recognized in Indonesia. Nevertheless, Islam remains the religion of the majority of Indonesians (80%), which places this country of 260 million inhabitants at the head, by number, of the Muslim countries in the world.

Ramesko Purba is the spokesman for the Catholic community in Karimun, on Riau Island, near Sumatra. He explained to AsiaNews on January 24, 2020, that he has all the legal authorizations to build a new church dedicated to Saint Joseph. Despite this, the project meets opposition from Muslims.

” The plan to build a church brings no benefit to the people of Karimun,” according to Abdul Latif, former dean of the University of Karimun.”As long as we keep up the pressure, it will not happen,” he said in local media.

Twenty young people – all minors – have already expressed their violent opposition to the plan to build the church. They were not worried by the local authorities, whom the Catholics accuse of slowness when it comes to punishing the crimes committed by the Muslim majority.

In 2020, the Catholic minority in Karimun in the region numbered 1,800 worshipers. There were about 100 of them in 1935, when the first Saint-Joseph church was erected on the island of Riau. Having become too small, the building needs to be restored and considerably enlarged to accommodate the 700 faithful of the parish community. 

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