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» 09/09/2013
INDONESIA
West Aceh , Protestant pastor and four Christians arrested for proselytizing
by Mathias Hariyadi
The religious police arrest five for trying to convert Muslims in the area. In fact, they ensured education and remedial courses . Not even the head of the Office of Religious Affairs is sure of the charges. Islamic law in force in the province and in the past Protestant Christians have been imprisoned for similar cases.

Jakarta (AsiaNews ) - TheSharia  " Police " and security officials in the district of West Aceh , the Indonesian province where Islamic law is in force , arrested Pastor Hendri Budi Kusumo and four other people , members of the Indonesian Mission Evangelist Church ( GMII ) . The incident occurred last week, but only emerged in the past hours. According to reports the religious police - in charge of enforcing Islamic rules and customs - accused the five of "proselytism" , because they were trying to " convert Muslims to Christianity in the area of Aceh. "

Confirmation of the arrest comes from the Aceh 's office of the Committee for Religious Affairs . The local chief officer, Baron Ferryson , said that " they were arrested a few days ago and charged with trying to influence " the local population. They were taken by force from their homes, the man added, after rumors spread of "proselytism." In fact, the Christian pastor was providing educational and remedial courses to the population in order to improve the level of education. And not even the head of the Committee for Religious Affairs claims to be "sure" of the allegations.

According to local media reports , Hendri Budi Kusumo and the other four men were taken from their home in the village of Blang Pulo , in the middle of the night . With them two other people were detained and later identified as "Muslims from the Aceh area " , because they were in the company of Christians. Some witnesses add that "there may be other cases of conversion to Protestantism".

A similar story occurred in June, when a Protestant pastor and three other workers were arrested in the district of Bireuen , again in Aceh , for proselytizing . A story emerged because an alleged convert identified as Hasbi (a "newly baptized " in the local language , ed) returned to his village of origin, and attempted to bring Christianity to his brother Aman Suhardi . The authorities singled out Pastor Onekesyi Zega and arrested him while he was at the village of Bener Meriah , in the company of three assistants and carrying "evidence", which were copies of the Bible in the local language.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world and, while guaranteeing the constitutional principles of religious freedom, it is more and more often the scene of attacks and violence against minorities, whether they are Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or of other faiths. In the province of Aceh - the only one in the Archipelago - the Islamic law (sharia) applies and in many other areas the influence of the Muslim religion in the lives of citizens is becoming more radical and extreme. In addition, certain rules such as the building permit - the infamous IMB - are exploited to prevent the building or close Christian places of worship, as is the case for some time in Bogor regency, West Java, for the faithful of the Yasmin Church .

 


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See also
07/18/2013 INDONESIA
Aceh, increasing intolerance against Christians: 17 house churches closed
by Mathias Hariyadi
01/12/2010 INDONESIA
West Java: denial of religious freedom pushes Christians before the human rights commission
by Mathias Hariyadi
04/27/2006 INDONESIA
Christian politicians against Sharia for non-Muslims
by Benteng Reges
01/12/2013 INDONESIA - ISLAM
Further implementation of Sharia in Aceh to cause greater social tensions
by Mathias Hariyadi
07/21/2010 INDONESIA
Bekasi, insults and threats from Islamic extremists at a Protestant prayer meeting
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
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ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

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pp. 176
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