12/15/2011, 00.00
INDONESIA

Central Java: statue of the Virgin decapitated

Mathias Hariyadi
The act of vandalism occurred last night in Sendag Prawito (Semarang Archdiocese), in a small chapel devoted to Our Lady. A cross was also stolen and some religious objects were destroyed. The archbishop demands Christians be protected during the Christmas period.
Semarang (AsiaNews) – Last night, vandals decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary in a small grotto in Sendag Prawito, Tawangmangu, Semarang Archdiocese (Central Java). A cross was stolen and the aspersorium was badly damaged.

“This brutal action has strongly affected the Catholic community,” Mgr Johannes Pujasumarta, archbishop of Semarang, told AsiaNews.

“Security Forces must do their duty without showing any preference for Muslims or Christians in a religiously pluralistic country based on the principles of Pancasila, which are still the foundations on which the nation is built,” the prelate said in an appeal to local authorities to provide Christians with security during the Christmas period.

In recent years, Christmas has seen several attacks against Indonesia’s Christian communities. In 2000, a series of bombings killed 19 people during Christmas week. On 31 December 2005, seven people died in an attack against a market in a Christian section of Palu (Sulawesi).

In both cases, Jemaah Islamyah, which is linked to al Qaeda, was blamed.
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