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Muslim group make Christians cancel celebration

The Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia had organised an open-air service at a football stadium in Yogyakarta, a city on an Indonesian Island. In their cancellation statement they called it 'a national prayer service to mark 500 years of Reformation'.

But the Forum Ukhuwah Islamiyah (FUI), who are part of the Indonesian Ulema Council - a body of Muslims that converse between the Indonesian government and the Muslim community - wrote to the stadium officials asking them to not let the gathering go ahead because they believed it would involve evangelism.

They also threatened to disrupt the service if it went ahead.

The Christian organisers, led by the Reverend Stephen Tong, therefore cancelled the event "to avoid acts of intolerance".
Police rejected the claim that hardliner pressure forced the cancellation of the service.

Yogyakarta police spokesman Yulianto said it did not go ahead because organizers did not have a permit to stage the event.

This is the second time a major Christian event has been cancelled in less than a year - a Christmas service in West Java, also led by Reverend Tong, was stopped by hardliners as well.

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