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    » 03/17/2012, 00.00


    West Java: gun attack on Protestant church, attackers arrested

    Mathias Hariyadi

    The two men, in their 30s, fired on the place of worship with air rifles. Police will not disclose their identity. Investigation into motive of the act. In their getaway vehicle, a luxury minivan, map of Gki Church and other "important" objectives in the country found.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The two alleged perpetrators of the attack on a Protestant church in Indramayu - city of West Java, about 120 km east of Jakarta - late morning yesterday were arrested within a few hours of the attack in Bandung. So far the police have not released the identities of two men known only by their initials who are in their 30s. One of the accused, according to leaked information from the investigations, is a native of Bandung, while the place of origin of his accomplice has not yet been ascertained.

    Sitompul Martin, West Java police spokesman, confirmed the arrest, adding that investigators are looking into the motive behind the attack. Local sources confirm that they saw the pair of men wandering around noon yesterday near the main building of the Protestant church Gereja Kristen Indonesia (Gki, better known as Yasmin Church), the two opened fire, apparently using air guns loaded with lead bullets.

    A part of the church windows were destroyed, but the complex did not suffer other serious damage. It seems that the authors of the attack were driving a luxury VW Caravelle minivan that only wealthy people can buy.

    The church of Indramayu Gki overlooks the main street of the city, connecting the capital Jakarta with all the towns on the eastern island of Java. Investigators have seized some documents from the vehicle used for the attack, which include among others a map of the place of Christian worship, and some "important" targets located in different cities on the archipelago.

    In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, religious freedom is protected by the state, but there are attacks against Christian targets or violations to the free practice of religion. The most famous case in recent months regards the faithful of the Yasmin Church in Bogor, the center of a bitter feud with the local mayor who - despite a Supreme Court ruling - refuses to grant freedom of worship (cf. . AsiaNews 13/03/2012 Yasmin Church members stage peaceful protest in front of Yudhoyono's residence).

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    See also

    11/11/2011 INDONESIA
    West Java, Muslim and Christian intellectuals against mayor’s attempts to cancel Protestant church
    Diani Budiarto, regardless of a ruling by the Constitutional Court, will not guarantee freedom of Christian worship to the Yasmin Church of. Muslim Professor calls on the government to punish the official, but warns that one case of intolerance should not be generalized. Priest recalls the attacks on 47 churches in 2010 and claims the right to religious freedom.

    24/08/2010 INDONESIA
    West Java, Christians celebrate in the streets demanding freedom of religion
    The Sunday service of Yasmin Church was held in Bogor. Islamic extremists put pressure on the civil authority that closed their place of worship, even if legal. The liturgical services are held in the streets since April 10.

    17/11/2011 INDONESIA
    West Java: moderate Muslims support Yasmin Church against the fundamentalist
    The controversy over the construction of a Protestant church denied a permit by mayor continues, despite the Supreme Court ruling. Both parties seek support from different Muslim organizations.

    27/08/2010 INDONESIA
    Jakarta, Christians, Buddhists and Muslims demand tolerance from extremists
    The meeting organized by activists for inter-religious dialogue. Moderate Muslims against Islamic radicals. It 's easier to get permits to build beauty centres than build a church.

    27/03/2006 INDONESIA
    Muslims force home church to close

    The purported reason was the lack of a permit to hold religious activities in a private house. The Pentecostal pastor said: "My church is older than this law, it doesn't require permission. If you shut it down, tell me where members of my community can go to pray".

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