It has been years of agony for GKI Taman Yasmin Protestant church congregation members as Bogor Mayor Diani Budiarto has defied a Supreme Court decision to allow them to attend Sunday mass in their place of worship.

Budiarto’s bureaucratic move reflects the failure of not only law enforcement in the city, but also of the country’s civil justice system.

A number of civil society groups under the Bhineka Tunggal Ika Forum, which also includes Muhammadiyah Student Association and Nahdatul Ulama’s Indonesian Islamic Student Association, have tried to resolve the issue to no avail. The Asian chapter of Human Rights Watch and the World Church Conference have also stepped in, but their efforts did not work either.

Indeed, the Bogor case reflects the irony of Indonesian religious tolerance, which has been dubbed a global model for inter-faith relations. In an international discussion at the Islamic Studies Program at the Graduate Theological Union Berkeley, Marriane Farrina, a professor in Christian-Muslim dialogue, ranked Indonesia among the most preferable sites of peaceful relations among religions.

Thus, in the eyes of the international community, Indonesia is an interesting phenomenon where Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists can live in one house or get along side-by-side peacefully.

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