Authorities on the Indonesian island of Sumatra closed three churches on September 27th, stating that they lack the necessary permits. Church leaders, however, argue that the closures relate instead to restlessness among majority Muslims because of the rapid growth of churches in the area.
According to an anonymous source, protest rallies had been planned by the “Islamic Defenders Front” for September 28th, with plans for 1,000 protesters in front of the three churches. It is believed that the churches were sealed to prevent this demonstration. Church groups have issued statements urging the government to not give in to pressure but to respect religious freedom.