Police clear rumors of Christmas services banned in West Sumatra

Police clear rumors of Christmas services banned in West Sumatra

Illustration: a police officer is securing a Christmas service at a church. ANTARA FOTO/Nyoman Budhiana

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's National Police denied information, spread across social media platforms, claiming that Christian communities in the districts of Sijunjung and Dharmasraya in West Sumatra Province were not allowed to perform Christmas services.

"The district governments have confirmed there is no prohibition on those keen on performing Christmas services," National Police spokesman Sen. Coms Asep Adi Saputra stated in Jakarta on Thursday while clearing the air on the unsubstantiated information.

According to information circulated on social media platforms, Christian communities were not allowed to conduct Christmas services in the villages of both Sijunjung and Dharmasraya Districts, West Sumatra.

Saputra expounded that the district governments had reached a consensus with local community members that a Christmas service is conducted at churches.

Hence, if a congregation held a Christmas service at a local resident's home, the district government authorities would appeal to them to conduct it at an official house of worship.

To this end, the Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police work closely with the district governments to maintain the implementation of this consensus while the police, backed by the TNI, collaborate with the local governments to offer a guarantee.

Hence, there is no prohibition for members of the Christian communities to hold religious services linked to Christmas there, he stated.

Christians across Indonesia are bracing for this year's Christmas celebrations.

In enlivening this religious festival, the Jakarta provincial government, for instance, facilitates its public sphere along the Thamrin-Sudirman Road with live performances of Christmas carols from Dec 18 to Dec 20.

During those days, passersby on the road can halt momentarily and watch several men and women in Christmas hats belt out outdoor performances of Christmas carols at 11 select locations.

On Wednesday (Dec 18), a man led a group of men and women wearing Christmas hats that performed a Christmas carol on a sidewalk in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel near the iconic Roundabout of Central Jakarta and was published by local news outlets.

Under the leadership of Governor Anies Baswedan, widely known as a Muslim nationalist and grandson of Indonesia's national hero Abdurrahman Baswedan (AR Baswedan), the capital city administration also enlivens this religious festival with Christmas ornaments.

Under Baswedan's leadership, the Jakarta government has fairly demonstrated its genuine care for the interests of all residents hailing from different religious, socio-economic, and cultural backgrounds for the sake of justice for all. Related news: Carol singers perform at Jakarta MRT station
Related news: Ministry opens coordination center for Christmas, New Year