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    » 05/08/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Central Java: Islamic extremists attack sanctuary of the Virgin Mary, repelled by police

    Mathias Hariyadi

    For safety reasons, authorities suspend a function in program for yesterday. However, the place of worship, highly popular among faithful and pilgrims, will remain open. Attackers claim building does not have proper permit. The Archbishop of Semarang calls for calm: do not respond to provocation.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Tensions remain high in central Java, where a crowd of a thousand Islamic extremists have targeted a shrine to the Virgin Mary: For security reasons, yesterday the authorities suspended the programmed church service, while dozens of policemen and soldiers guarding the place of Christian worship, fearing further - possible - violence. According to the protesters, incited by Muslim extremists, the building has no building permit required by law (the infamous IMB) and, over time, from "simple house of prayer" it has become a real church. The faithful respond that "in more than 40 years" there has never been an incident of sectarian nature.

    After the three Christian churches - two Catholic and one Protestant - were forcibly closed in Java in recent days (see AsiaNews 07/05/12 Extremist threats in Aceh: authorities close three churches), the attention of Indonesian Islamic extremists has now shifted to the shrine of Lady Mary in Sengon Kerep, Sampang sub-district in Gedangsari in Gunung Kidul regency in Yogyakarta (Central Java province). Sunday, May 6th a mob of a thousand fanatics tried to seal off the building, but the intervention of soldiers and police foiled the attack.

    The full name of the shrine of the Virgin Mary (pictured) is Taman Maria Giri Wning Sengon Kerep and in local language, it means "The garden of the silence of Mary Sengon Kerep". Over the past three years the place of worship has undergone a major restoration work, and has always attracted a huge crowd of believers with one purpose: prayer.

    Among other things, the sanctuary belongs to the Wedi parish in the district of Klaten, which is famous for the contribution it has made over the years to the Indonesian church and, more particularly, the Archdiocese of Semarang. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of priests, nuns, men religious from the area, supported with passion and devotion by the faithful. Even two bishops were born in the parish of Wedi. This is why there is special devotion and attention to the Marian shrine and the Catholic community will continue to be vigilant to preserve its integrity. In a message to the faithful Msgr. Johannes Pujasumarta Pr, Archbishop of Semarang, called for calm and for faithful not to give in to provocation: "Do not show or respond with violence - said the prelate - even if the tension continues to grow."

     

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    See also

    25/05/2011 INDONESIA
    Indonesian Priest: Pancasila, a guarantee of religious freedom, against fundamentalism
    The five pillars of the state, that led to the creation of Indonesia, are back on the political agenda. The institutional leaders promote them to counter the fundamentalist drift in the archipelago. Starting next year, it will be included on school curricula. Recruitment of adherents to the fundamentalist cause continues, through brainwashing.

    21/07/2010 INDONESIA
    Bekasi, insults and threats from Islamic extremists at a Protestant prayer meeting
    More than 500 blocked the entrance to the field where the function was being held. The Huria Protestant Church celebrates in the open because their prayer hall was declared illegal. Thanks to the police, there were no consequences for the faithful.

    30/06/2014 INDONESIA
    Yogyakarta, to cries of "Allah is great" unknown assailants attack Sacred Heart parish
    Three groups of unidentified persons on board motorcycles, launch attack during mass. Objects and posters damaged. Reasons for the violence unknown. Tighter controls around the place of worship. After decades of peaceful coexistence, Yogyakarta becomes center of anti-Christian violence and abuse.

    05/09/2007 INDONESIA
    Domestic Church attacked; pastor and faithful injured
    Over 300 Islamic extremists attacked a protestant congregation gathered to celebrate Sunday service. The reason remains unclear. The Synod of Christian Churches expresses concern.

    01/07/2013 INDONESIA
    Central Java, Islamic extremists against celebrations for Fr. Utomo's 50th anniversary of priesthood
    The Church celebrates the jubilee of Fr. Gregorius Utomo, valued contributor to the Indonesian Bishops' Conference. The community organized a series of events and a solemn celebration of the Eucharist, which the Islamists oppose. Archbishop of Semarang tells AsiaNews: "false accusations against him artfully made up by the media and newspapers."



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