Source: VOM Sources
Officials in Bandung, Indonesia, have closed the Indonesia Christian Huria Church (HKI), forcing its 200 members to worship elsewhere. On Oct. 23, 2012, Bandung’s vice regent ordered authorities to seal the HKI building after prominent area Muslims pressured residents to withdraw approval for the church building. They posted a sign on the front of the building reading, “This building … is sealed.” Under Indonesian law, churches must obtain 60 signatures of local non-Christians in order to get a building and operating permit. The 15-year-old church in Bandung had obtained 77 signatures of non-Christian neighbors before several were pressured to withdraw their support. Church members must now travel more than half an hour through heavy traffic to attend church on the other side of the city of 2.4 million. This is the latest in an alarming trend of church closures on West Java, some of which have been accompanied by violent protests.
“Human rights advocates and concerned individuals worldwide have spoken out on behalf of Asia Bibi, the 45-year-old Christian wife and mother who earlier this month became the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.
Bibi has been imprisoned since June 2009, after she was accused of allegedly insulting the Prophet Mohammed while attempting to share her faith with several Muslim co-workers, who had been pressuring Bibi for months to convert to Islam.
Even as Bibi’s lawyers began working to overturn the verdict, her death sentence shocked thousands of people around the world — including Pope Benedict and even Muslim scholars — who have called for her release through online petitions and official appeals to the Pakistani government. The law of blasphemy that has kept Bibi in prison for the past 15 months has been widely criticized as being a tool to promote oppression and discrimination against religious minorities, particularly Christians, in Pakistan.
According to reports from CNN and The New York Times, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will likely pardon Bibi after completion of a full investigation by Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistani Minister for Minority Affairs…”full article here