» 09/09/2013, 00.00
West Aceh , Protestant pastor and four Christians arrested for proselytizing
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. "
the arrest comes from the Aceh 's office of the Committee for Religious Affairs
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
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.
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
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.
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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The faithful were beaten, thrown onto the ground and searched. At least 10 are still in prison. Among them is the community pastor accused of having assaulted the police. The community refused to pay an (illegal) tax on the use of the road to the church.
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Muslim-based parties have proposed a bill to apply Islamic law to all citizens of the Indonesian province. The proposal comes amid debate aimed at drawing up a new law to govern Aceh following the Helsinki peace accord.
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