» 12/02/2013, 00.00
INDONESIA - ISLAM
North Sumatra: Hundreds of Islamists attack Protestant community during prayer service
A group of FPI members stopped the Sunday services of the Hkbp in Binjai . Fundamentalists threaten Christians, who are forced to leave under police escort. Attack sparked by false accusations of promoting religious activities in a building without permission. A case pending for more than five years.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A group of
extremists belonging to the Islamic
Defenders Front attacked and disrupted the Sunday services of the Tandemn Huria Kristen Batak Protestant ( Hkbp )
community in the city of Binjai , the Indonesian province of North Sumatra . hundreds
of faithful of the local Christian community had to abandon their church -
official and recognized - and close traditional weekend services early because
of the threats made by the fundamentalists. The
faithful returned to their homes, escorted by police in riot gear.
reported that the assault yesterday morning against the Protestant Christian
community was led by hundreds of FPI members, supported by some local Islamist
groups . The
assailants shouted loudly that the "church" is not legal , the
authorities in the area, according to the extremists , have not take any
decision on the legitimacy of any " activities of worship " in the
Islamists attack comes in conjunction with the decision by local authorities,
who must determine whether the place of Christian worship is or is not valid. The
case is still pending and the surprise extremist attack could be aimed at
putting pressure on judge.
Ahmad , FPI coordinator, said that the interruption of the Hkbp function had
the "support " of the political authorities, as previously insured
during a special meeting on 27 November 2013. During
the meeting they discussed the issue with the leaders of Binjai . The
Islamists claim that the "church" is not legal , because the case
" is still pending in court " and has not received the approval of
the local population . Zainnudin
Purba, an MP for Binjai , points the finger at the local administration which
has been unable to make a decision on the matter for more than five years.
is the most populous Muslim nation in the world (86 % profess Islam) and, while
maintaining the constitutional principle of basic personal freedoms (including
religious) , it is increasingly becoming a theater of violence and abuse
against minorities . Christians
make up 5.7% of the population; Catholics just over 3 %, 1.8 % are Hindu and
3.4% of other religions. The
province of Aceh applies Islamic law and many other areas are becoming more
radical and extreme the application of the Muslim religion in the lives of
this context, the FPI has played a leading role in a broad campaign of
'Islamisation'. In a number of places, its members have used violence to impose
Sharia-inspired rules and regulations, such as a ban on alcoholic beverages and
the prohibition of certain sexual mores. The group, which is opposed by most Indonesians, has also been accused of blocking
church construction, using violence to achieve this goal. Since 2000, it has
also been blamed in connection with a series of terror attacks that targeted
the US Embassy as well as bars, nightclubs, and private clubs, especially
during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting and prayer.
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