» 11/13/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA - ISLAM
West Java: Islamic extremists stop Catholics celebrating Mass
Members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and Formasi blocked the celebrations of 9 November. The Pastor of St. Odilia avoids the devastation of the place of worship by removing the sacred objects in time. The Protestant community previously targeted. First challenge in terms of religious freedom for the reformist president Jokowi.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - After attacking the Protestant
community, extremist groups of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and the Formasi
(Forum of Indonesian Islamic community) have attacked Catholics, blocking the
celebration of Mass over the weekend and preventing the faithful from gathering.
The warning was launched in a series of text messages that
started circulating in recent days and were confirmed later by Fr. Saptono, priest
of the parish of St. Odilia in Cinunuk, in the regency of Bandung (West Java
province). The complex of St. Charles Borromeo was targeted in the November 9
raid when it was surrounded by dozens of extremists - shouting insulting slogans
and mafia-style messages - who blocked the celebration of Sunday Mass.
The FPI and the Formasi members threatened to burn the
property if, in the future, Masses or other Christian services are celebrated. To
avoid the worst damage, the priest - while engaged in a discussion with some
representatives of the extremist groups - asked the faithful to remove the
sacred objects and symbols of faith.
A move that has convinced the extremists to curb their destructive folly, on the
back of a promise by the priest that there would be no more celebrations in the
structure. Addressing the faithful, Fr. Saptono spoke of a t "shocking"
even for a private community and abuse of their right to prayer and to the free
practice of worship "after 16 years of peaceful existence".
The presence of Catholics in the area dates back to 1995.
"After the four Protestant churches blocked since 11 October - adds the
priest - it is now the turn of the Catholic community." Limitations on the
practice of worship concern not only the communities of Cinunuk, but also locations
scattered in West Java, one of the areas most at risk from intolerance or sectarian
violence. These attacks have not only affected Christians but also other minorities,
including Ahmadis and Shias.
the world's most populous Muslim nation, where Catholics are 3 per cent of the
population, is becoming as one of the main centres of Islamic activism in the
Asia-Pacific region. As AsiaNews
recently reported, fundamentalist movements and local Muslim leaders have found inspiration in the
exploits of Sunni fighters in Syria and Iraq and plan to support the struggle
for the establishment of the Islamic Caliphate, even in Asia. The new government of President
Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and neo Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnomo, better known as Ahok, number two Widodo when he headed the capital, will have their hands full in trying to
stem this extremist drift that was endorsed for years by the previous
Domestic Church attacked; pastor and faithful injured
Over 300 Islamic extremists attacked a protestant congregation gathered to celebrate Sunday service. The reason remains unclear. The Synod of Christian Churches expresses concern.
Yogyakarta, to cries of "Allah is great" unknown assailants attack Sacred Heart parish
Three groups of unidentified persons on board motorcycles, launch attack during mass. Objects and posters damaged. Reasons for the violence unknown. Tighter controls around the place of worship. After decades of peaceful coexistence, Yogyakarta becomes center of anti-Christian violence and abuse.
Central Java, Islamic extremists against celebrations for Fr. Utomo's 50th anniversary of priesthood
The Church celebrates the jubilee of Fr. Gregorius Utomo, valued contributor to the Indonesian Bishops' Conference. The community organized a series of events and a solemn celebration of the Eucharist, which the Islamists oppose. Archbishop of Semarang tells AsiaNews: "false accusations against him artfully made up by the media and newspapers."
Attack on Kathmandu Cathedral: “a woman planted the bomb”
A Nepalese priest describes the “shock” of the Christian community. Two Christian faithful died in the attack. Over recent months the Christian community had received death threats from Hindu fundamentalists. Madhav Kumar Nepal, of the Marxist-Leninist party is elected prime minister of the Constitutional Assembly.
Bekasi, anti-Christian persecution continues. A Protestant church targeted
A crowd of 200 Muslims launches intimidating messages at the faithful and prohibits the use of a local church for Sunday services. The attackers claim to be residents of the area. Protestant pastor denies this: “definitely strangers". From 2009 to now at least 17 Christian churches targeted.
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.
18/05/2017 ASIA - VATICAN
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.