» 09/15/2010, 00.00
Muslim leader detained in anti-Christian attack
Police announce that Muharli Barda, notorious head of the Islamic Defender Front in Bekasi, is a suspect in the case. Nine other people are involved, but their names have not yet been made public as the authorities continue to investigate the stabbing of a Christian clergyman.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesian police confirmed that Muharli Barda, the notorious leader of the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) in Bekasi, has been detained for his role in an anti-Christian incident that occurred on 12 September. Police also said that nine other people were involved, but did not disclose their names.
The incident in question occurred last Sunday when a Protestant clergyman, Rev Afian Sihombing, was attacked. He is the head of a Christian community in East Pondonk Bekasi Regency. He is currently in hospital with multiple stab wounds to the stomach. Rev Luspida Simanjutak was also injured during the attack, with wounds to the face, head and back. She and Rev Sihombing lead the Huria Batak Kristen Protestan (HBKP).
After initially taking a guarded position, police became more involved following a statement by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who said that Christians should have justice.
“There are ten suspects,” Police Chief General Bambang Hendarso Danuri announced. He declined however to give any further comments.
“Let’s not talk about which mass organisation they belong to. As long as they commit a crime, we will handle them seriously. Law enforcement should be practiced without any preference,” he said.
Bekasi FPI leader Mhuharli Barda, who has often been blamed for disorders, was mentioned by Jakarta police spokesman Senior Superintendent Boy Rafli Amar.
“Yes! It definitively correct that Muharli Barda has been declared as a suspect for his role in provoking ill feelings against others,” Amar said in response to a question. “Barda is now in police custody,” he added.
A top FPI national leader Munarman slammed the anti-Christian attack and said that the group would punish any FPI member found guilty.
“We shall evaluate if Muharli Barda was involved or not. If he acted on his own, he would be expelled; if he acted as local FPI chief, the section would be shut down and reorganised at the right moment,” he said.
Yet, just a few days before the incident Munarman had defended the accused.
Muslim organisations condemn attack against Protestant clergyman
President Yudhoyono joins (late) his voice to those who condemned Sunday’s stabbing of Protestant pastor Afian Sihombing. Muslim organisations call for the arrest of fundamentalists who stain the soul of the nation.
Jakarta to review laws on religious freedom to guarantee Christian rights
The authorities announce changes to a joint ministerial decree ((nº8 of 2006 and nº9 of 2009) after minorities engage in protest following the latest violent episodes against the Christian community. West Java governor pledges a “permanent” place of worship for the HKBP Church and its members.
Protestant pastor stabbed, religious freedom attacked
A group of unknown assailants stabbed Rev Afian Sihombing. Currently, he is in hospital in critical conditions. Rev Luspida Simanjutak, head of a Protestant community in Pondonk Bekasi, was also injured. Activists and priests react to the incident saying such actions are an attack against pluralism, a pillar of Indonesian society.
Bekasi Christians not intimidated by pressures from Islamic extremists
For months, hundreds of radical Muslims have threatened Christians and interrupted the functions of the Batak Protestant Church (HKBP). Rev Luspida Simanjutak, the community’s pastor, tells AsiaNews that she is not afraid of the extremists, and that she will continue to defend freedom of religion.
More than 50 Islamic Defender Front extremists arrested
The police is questioning detainees over last 1 June clashes during a pro-religious freedom rally. FPI leader is among those arrested. In East Java young moderate Muslims burn radical group’s flags.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
24/05/2017 CHINA- VATICAN
19/05/2017 BANGLADESH - SAUDI ARABIA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.