Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Thousands of angry Muslims attacked three churches, a Christian orphanage and a health centre that is also a Christian. The violence took place this morning at 10 am (local time) and only ended with the intervention of police in riot gear and police vans. One of the vans was set on fire by the crowd.
The revolt took place in Temanggung regency (Central Java), and started right in front of the town hall: first the crowd attacked the court where a trial against Richmond Bawengan Antonius, a Christian born in Manado (North Sulawesi) , accused of proselytizing and blasphemy was being held.
Bawengan was arrested in October 2010 because during a visit to Temanggung he had distributed printed missionary material, which, among other things, poked fun at some Islamic symbols. The profanity has cost him five years in prison, but the crowd were demanding the death sentence. The violence was sparked by their dissatisfaction with the verdict.
Instead of leaving the court, the crowd started pushing, shouting provocative slogans and then destroyed the building. Hundreds of police rushed in to intervene but failed to appease the thousands of Muslims who began to march en masse to "target Christians" on the main street of the city.
The Catholic Church of St Peter and Paul on Sudirman Boulevard was the first to be attacked, according to AsiaNews sources, the parish priest, Fr Saldhana, a missionary of the Holy Family, was violently beaten as he tried to protect the tabernacle and the Eucharist against the mob.
The crowd then attacked a Pentecostal church. According to the pastor Darmanto - another Christian leader of Temanggung - the main goal was the Pentecostal church, which was then burned. The mob, however, still not appeased went on to destroy in a Catholic orphanage and a health centre of the Sisters of Providence.
Another Protestant church in Shekinah was burnt down.