Jakarta (AsiaNews) - For Catholics in Ungaran (Central
Java), Christmas is in jeopardy because of threats from the extremist Islamic
Defence Front (FPI). Since the local grand mosque is located on the centrally
located Sidomulyo Square, where Christians are preparing to celebrate Christmas
with Masses and prayers, Muslims fundamentalists have threatened to stop all
celebrations. A big meeting in front of the mosque has already been announced
for the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
Java FPI leader Jindan Bahrul warned Christians that an open-air Mass in front
of the mosque would "not be a good example of [interfaith] tolerance" before
Christmas. "Other possible locations exist," he said, adding that Christians "should
go elsewhere". Indeed, Christmas Eve's big prayer meeting in front of Ungaran's
Grand Mosque should be reason enough for Christians to pause.
regency police said that they would stop the Islamists if they acted, by force
if necessary. Although no public official personally made the announcement to
avoid retaliation, the statement does indicate the authorities' intention to
stand their ground even against a leading mosque leader in Ungaran.
part, the local administration noted that the Catholic community had applied
and obtained the necessary permits for Christmas celebrations within the required
timespan. "We gave the request due attention," said Abdullah Maskur, a local
top official, "and decided to issue the necessary permits after consulting all parties."
is the most populous Muslim nation in the world. Whilst its constitution
recognises the principle of religious freedom, attacks and violence against
minorities, be they Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or members of other religions,
have become very frequent.
Province, Sharia is in place, the only jurisdiction in the entire nation to
have done so. Under Islamist influence, a more radical and extremist vision of
the faith is being imposed on residents in many areas.
laws, rules and regulations like building permits are being used selectively to
prevent the construction of Christian places of worship or prevent Christians
from using those they already have. This has been done in Bogor Regency (West
members of the Yasmin Church.