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

Officials in a province of Indonesia under strict Islamic law have closed down nine "illegal" churches in response to pressure from Islamist groups.

The authorities in Banda Aceh city forced leaders of the nine churches to sign statements agreeing to close their buildings last week. Six Buddhist temples were also forced to close. Aceh province, of which Banda Aceh is the capital, has been under Shariah (Islamic) law since 2001. The churches affected were branded illegal for not having official permits -- despite the fact that at least one of them had submitted an application to register officially. Officials have given warning that they will continue to monitor these "banned" congregations to ensure they do not resume their church activities. Church members have been encouraged to join officially registered churches.

Ask God to be with all the congregations affected by closures in Banda Aceh. Pray that they will find ways to find fellowship and worship God together. Pray that their example will prompt authorities to desire to know more about Jesus and put their hope and trust in Him.

Go to the Indonesia Country Report for more on Indonesia's persecuted Church.