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  • » 10/15/2010, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Arson attack against Saint Joseph Chapel in Central Java

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Shepherds see smoke coming from the front of the chapel; they find inflammable material ready for ignition. Local Catholics exclude the attacker or attackers are local because of good interfaith relations. Another attempted arson attack is registered at a local Protestant church.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Someone tried to set fire to the small Chapel of Saint Joseph in Pare, a few kilometres from Delanggu subdistrict in Klaten Regency (Central Java). The building is regularly used by local Catholics to pray during weekends.

    On Wednesday, a group of young shepherds saw smoking coming from the front of the building. When they came closer, they saw some inflammable material, including used tyres and fuel containers, at the entrance, under the windows and near gates and a fire starting to take hold.  

    Usually, the chapel is not monitored at night, or when it is not in use. Fr Saptaka, the parish priest at the Delanggu church, said that a similar attack occurred on 12 December 2009 but did not cause any victims.

    Local Catholics do not know who might be responsible for the act, but they think they must be outsiders.

    Fr Sutrasno, parish priest at St Maria Assunta Church in Klaten, told AsiaNews that when the previous attack took place in December 2009, he surveyed local Catholics to see if they had had any “problems” with local Muslims.

    “Local Catholics told me they have good relations with other residents,” he said. “In fact, the area in front of the church has been used for volleyball matches involving both Catholics and non-Catholics.” People also use the church’s compound to store the harvest.

    “It is almost impossible that locals are behind this. They have always respected the chapel,” the clergyman said.

    Yesterday morning at dawn, another arson attack hit a Protestant church in Gebyog at Ngemplak, Kartasura subdistrict, some 20 kilometres from Delanggu. Someone saw flames coming out of the building.

    Still, Rev Setyo Budi Utomo said that the fire caused very little damage, mostly the windows.

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    See also

    29/08/2005 INDONESIA
    Islamic extremists forcibly shut down Catholic chapel in West Java
    Some 200 men stormed a chapel at the end of last Saturday afternoon service forcing its closure and demanding an end to all liturgical service.

    25/10/2005 INDONESIA
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    Religious Affairs Minister and Maluku Governor pledge the new money during the opening ceremony of the 35th Synod of the province's Protestant Churches.

    29/12/2009 INDONESIA
    Muslims attack and set fire to a house of prayers
    The attack by unknown assailants occurred in early December in the village of Tlogowero, Bansari sub district (Java). Police issued a statement on the matter only yesterday. For residents, the incident was caused by Muslim objection to the presence of Christian buildings in their villages.

    30/01/2009 SRI LANKA
    Anti-conversion bill: minorities fear restrictions on religious freedom
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    03/06/2014 INDONESIA
    West Java authorities yield to Islamic pressure and close down seven Protestant churches
    Cianjur district chiefs close down seven places of worship over alleged irregularities in building permits (IMB). The IMB dates back to 2006, but the churches have been active since the end of the 70s . Christian leaders: some of the faithful have moved for "security reasons", for fear of attacks.



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