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    » 02/08/2011, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Central Java: Thousands of Muslims attack three churches, an orphanage and a Christian centre

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Parish priest of Catholic Church badly beaten. A police vehicle torched and the court Temanggung destroyed. The wrath of the crowd unleashed over a blasphemy sentence deemed to lenient (5 years in prison instead of death penalty).

    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.

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    See also

    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.

    28/11/2007 INDONESIA
    After 40 years a Catholic Church in West Java is forced to close
    Christ’s Peace Church has been active since 1968 now local Muslims are contesting the use of the buildings for religious purposes. With the backing of police and local politicians the extremists have won their battle: the parish does not have the legal permit and therefore must close down. For years the church had sought to obtain the permit without success, gaining only a staunch refusal from the government.

    27/09/2011 INDONESIA
    Moluccas, explosive devices found in a church
    Ambon police also discover bomb in the local bus station. Hand of Islamic extremists from other parts of the country suspected. The discovery comes after clashes between Christians and Muslims last September 11. Fear of renewed interfaith conflict.

    19/05/2011 INDONESIA
    Cirebon: Muslim extremists disrupt Christian services as police looks on
    Christians celebrate traditional post-Easter services. Human rights activist slams police inaction against “hostile” acts. He criticises the government for protecting religious freedom in words only. The city of Cirebon loses its “peaceful” image, as it becomes a centre of fundamentalism.

    05/06/2007 INDONESIA
    West Java: another Christian church attacked
    Shouting ‘Allah u Akbar’, a group of men storm a church Sunday in Bandung in West Java. The incident confirms a trend involving many attempts to suppress religious freedom in the predominantly Muslim country. A survey by a British human rights group shows that West Java is a hotbed of Indonesia’s anti-Christian movements.



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