06/02/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA

Yogyakarta, another attack on Sleman’s Christains

by Mathias Hariyadi

A group of Islamic fundamentalists attacked aProtestant community’s prayer hall, accusing the pastor of wanting to transform it into an illegal Church. It is the same area where the assault against the Catholic Parish of Banteng. The police, present during the raid, did not intervene.

Jakarta (AsiaNews ) - There has been yet another Islamic extremist attack on Christians in the district of Sleman. A group of fundamentalists attacked a Protestant community gathered in prayer in a private home this morning with stones and other sharp objects, in front of dozens of police officers who did not intervene. The extremists have accused the pastor of "wanting to use the house" to transform it into a church illegal. The Pastor's home - next to the prayer hall - was also damaged.

Fortunately there were no casualties or injuries: the attackers disappeared at noon, when the call to Islamic prayer echoed throughout the area. Now the authorities say they "have opened investigations on the incident", but have provided no other details .

The attack took place in the same area as a previous Islamic fundamentalist attack against faithful of the Holy Family parish of Banteng on May 29. The Catholics had gathered around 9 in the evening to pray the rosary in the private home of a parishioner named Felicianus when they were assaulted  by a group of 10 people. The mob even returned for a second assault to attack the owner.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Increasingly however, it has become the scene of attacks or episodes of intolerance against minorities, whether they are Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or belong to other faiths.  Aceh is the only Indonesian province where Sharia (Islamic law) is enforced, yet, in many other areas of the country, a more radical and extreme vision of Islam is spreading among ordinary Indonesians.

Certain rules such as the infamous building permit have been used to prevent the construction of Christian places of worship or stop construction already underway, as was the case for the Yasmin Church in West Java. Catholics are a small minority of about seven million, or 3 per cent of the population. Although the country's constitution recognises religious freedom, Catholics have been the victims of violence and abuse.

 

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