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» 12/21/2012
INDONESIA
Islamists against Catholics in Central Java, Christmas celebrations in jeopardy
by Mathias Hariyadi
Islamic Defence Front leaders threaten to stop celebrations. A big prayer meeting is planned for Christmas Eve. Islamist reaction is due to a planned Mass in a square across from a mosque. Police and local authorities say Christian celebrations have all the right permits, warn they would use all means at their disposal, including force to stop the extremists.

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.

Central 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.

However, 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.

For its 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."

Indonesia 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.

In Aceh 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.

Increasingly, 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 Java) against members of the Yasmin Church.


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See also
12/17/2010 INDONESIA
Indonesian Christians say no to Christmas protection by Muslim radicals
by Mathias Hariyadi
11/10/2005 INDONESIA
Azahari was preparing Christmas terrorist attacks against churches
07/03/2006 INDONESIA
Sulawesi: Protestant Church attacked in Poso
by Benteng Reges
10/22/2004 INDONESIA
Former Indonesian President defends a Catholic church
by Mathias Hariyadi
12/07/2004 PALESTINE
Palestinian Christians fear their country might become an Islamic state

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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