» 02/08/2010, 00.00
Bekasi, anti-Christian persecution continues. A Protestant church targeted
A crowd of 200 Muslims launches intimidating messages at the faithful and prohibits the use of a local church for Sunday services. The attackers claim to be residents of the area. Protestant pastor denies this: “definitely strangers". From 2009 to now at least 17 Christian churches targeted.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - "It will no longer be possible to use this church for the weekend functions." This is the threatening message launched by a crowd of 200 angry Muslims, who last week attacked a domestic church in Pondok Indah Timur, in Bekasi regency, some 30 km east of the capital Jakarta.
Local witnesses tell AsiaNews that the attackers gathered around the place of worship from the early hours of Sunday morning. According to a woman, Muslims disguised as "locals" expressed their firm opposition to the "construction plan" of a standing church in Pondok Indah Timur.
Reverend Luspida Simanjutak denies the claims of the fundamentalist group, stressing that they are “definitely strangers” because "I do not know any of their names." The desire to erect a Christian place of worship, he said, goes back 19 years, the issue is not simple, because "they have always opposed the birth" of a church in the area. "The worst incident – he recalls - happened in 2004: we had just finished building a church. The next day we found it completely destroyed. "
The protestant pastor explains that "the building will be erected within our property," but authorities have not yet released - despite repeated requests - the building permit (IMB), which is essential for building any structure in the country. He adds that "200 signatures of people support the building of a church have been collected."
Theopilus Bela, executive secretary of the Indonesian Committee of Religions for Peace, recalls that from 2009 until today have at least 17 churches been brutally targeted - for various reasons - by Muslim fundamentalists or local authorities. On 21 July 2009, the authorities in Bogor - for reasons that have never been clarified - levelled the Protestant Church of Parung Panjan. Since 2008 the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist in Parung, also in Bogor regency, has been the victim of provocative actions and attacks by Islamic extremists. In 2008, the faithful of the area were unable to attend the Christmas mass.
On 17 December 2009 it was the turn of the Catholic Church of St. Albert, stormed by a crowd of at least 1,000 Muslim extremists. Then there is the church set on fire near Tlogorejo, in the sub-district of Temanggung. 23 January 2010 anther 1000 Muslims attacked and set fire to the Protestant Church in Sibuhuan in the province of North Sumatra. The same day Padanglawas Pentecostal Church was also set on fire.
Bekasi: Islamic groups against the Protestant church, it promotes proselytizing
At least 16 extremist movements have ordered an end to the charitable activities and worship. They attempt to hide "forced conversions". Leaders of the Protestant Synod: unfounded accusations. In 2009 over 200 cases of violations of religious freedom. The Catholic church of Saint Mary wins the legal battle against the authorities of Purwakarta.
West Java, Islamic extremists block construction of St. Clare Parish
Opponents argue that the faithful do not have a building permit. In reality, the permit was obtained, after 17 years. The church should serve 9 thousand faithful. The Bekasi mayor gives in to protesters' demands. Religious intolerance is one the rise in the country and there is a certain "impotence" of the government in curbing Islamic Extremists. A long list of churches blocked or scrapped.
North Sumatra, two Protestant churches burnt: "too many faithful and too many prayers"
At least 1,000 people set fire to the Pentecostal community places of worship. According to local Muslims, the two buildings did not have the legal permits as "churches." The Nahdlatul Ulama admits the violence of radical Islamists against Christians. In 2009 in Indonesia, 35 cases of violation of religious freedom, 28 against Christians.
Jakarta, Christians, Buddhists and Muslims demand tolerance from extremists
The meeting organized by activists for inter-religious dialogue. Moderate Muslims against Islamic radicals. It 's easier to get permits to build beauty centres than build a church.
Jakarta: extremist group recruits students to target Christians and introduce shariah
The former independence movement NII has turned into a cell of Islamic terrorism. Among the objectives a devastating attack during Easter, on a Protestant church. The explosion also targeted an oilpipeline nearby the Christian building. Civil society calls on President Yudhoyono for less talk and more action.
Pope tells young people to remember the past, to have courage in the present and hope for the future
The Message for the 32nd World Youth Day was issued today centred on “The ‘great things’ that the Almighty accomplished’.” In her meeting with Elizabeth, Mary becomes a model. The pontiff calls on young people to avoid being couch potatoes, safe and cosy, urges them to rediscover the relationship with seniors. The Church experience is not a flash mob. The future should be experienced in a constructive way, and “the institutions of marriage, consecrated life and priestly mission” should not be devalued.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.