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An increasing number of churches are being closed in Indonesia.
Photo: Compass Direct News

Seventeen churches have been forcibly closed in Indonesia's Aceh province following last month's election of a hard-line Islamic governor.

Emboldened by the April election of Zaini Abdullah of the staunchly Islamic Aceh Party, hundreds of Islamic demonstrators gathered and demanded that church buildings be demolished and not just closed.

Officials said grounds for the closures included improper permits and a more than a decade-old agreement that stated that only one church and four small houses that function as churches could be built in the entire district. About 12,000 people in the district are Christian -- accounting for about one-sixth of the population, and the number of churches in the area had grown to 22.

Please pray that the decisions to close these places of worship will be overturned. Pray that the number of believers in Aceh will continue to multiply. Please pray that Zaini Abdullah and other authorities in Aceh will come to know and love Christ. Pray that believers will be encouraged to continue to meet together despite opposition (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Go to the Indonesia Country Report for more on persecution in Indonesia.