» 08/05/2011, 00.00
Sumatra: Ramadan begins with the burning of two Protestant churches
A crowd of at least 100 people attacked and torched a prayer centre of the Christian Batak Synod (Hkbp). They had previously attacked another Christian church five miles away. The violence took place on the first day of the holy month of fasting and prayer for Muslims.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - A mob of a hundred people attacked and set fire to two Protestant house churches in Logas Tanah Darat, in the Regency of Kuantan, Riau Province (Sumatra). The incident occurred August 1, coinciding with the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer for Muslims, but the news was broadcast by a radio station in Jakarta only late yesterday afternoon. The new attack against the Christian minority, according to some experts, is also a consequence of the "soft" sentences recently imposed by courts against extremists and Islamic leaders in Indonesia.
One of the two places of worship burned belonged to the Protestant Christian Batak Synod (Hkbp). Sahat Tarigan, leader of the Protestant Christian Karo, reports of at least 100 people who gathered around the building, chanting hostile slogans and brandishing weapons. Suddenly the assailants poured gasoline over the place of worship, then set it on fire. Previously, the crowd had attacked another house church located about five kilometers away. The Christian leader added that "our people have nothing to do with the assailants," who struck on Aug. 1 to coincide with the start of Ramadan.
The Christian prayer centers were situated in an area with a Muslim majority, but there are no records of episodes of violence or intolerance in the past. "In short - Tarigan Sahat concludes - we have no idea why they set fire [to the church]."
However, in Indonesia there are frequent cases of violence against religious minorities and places of worship. And the police, instead of pursuing those responsible, justify the fires - as happened in the last case - arguing that the churches are built of wood "and so burn easily." Added to this is the inertia of the judges and courts which impose laughable penalties against extremists and Islamic leaders who foment violence or commit heinous crimes (see AsiaNews 29/07/2011, Light sentences for Muslim extremists who attacked Ahmadis
AsiaNews 18/06/2011, Central Java, Justice held in check only one year for imam who ordered attack on three churches
Christians in Bekasi forced to celebrate in the open air under police protection
Islamic extremists have targeted the HKBP community for years. Christians have been denied the right to build their own places of worship, have seen facilities used for services shut down, and have had to endure insults and threats during open-air celebrations. “I will never give up seeking justice,” Rev Luspida Simanjutak says. “Law enforcement performance has been very poor. Security officials have been hopeless and silent on this crucial matter, “NGO laments.
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.
Jakarta, Bekasi Protestant Christians sit in outside Presidential Palace
Members of the Batak Protestant Church (Hkbp) seek justice outside the residence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. For years the Hkbp has been targeted by Islamic extremists, who prevent their worship.
Indonesians celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Batak Protestant Church
Delegations representing moderate Muslim groups take part in the celebrations, which began last Sunday in great pomp in Jakarta’s main stadium in the presence of 100,000 people, including Indonesian President Yudhoyono. More events are scheduled for the coming weeks in various cities.
Bekasi, assault on a Protestant church: mild sentences for Islamic leaders
The head of the Islamic Defenders Front, the main defendant, received a sentence of 5 months and 15 days. Six and seven months in jail for two other accomplices. In the attack, which occurred last September, a Protestant pastor was seriously injured. The Christian community’s lawyer assesses the appeal.
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
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