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» 11/23/2012
INDONESIA
West Sumatra, Islamists foment "Christianophobia": schools, churches and shops targeted
by Mathias Hariyadi
For days a violent campaign has been mounting against the Christian minority. An excuse used by the local leadership to distract citizens from problems, including justice and the fight against corruption. The work of the bishop of Padang for dialogue and "good relations" with the Muslims. A church may close due to the alleged lack of a building permit.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - In the district of West Pasaman, the Indonesian province of West Sumatra, characterized by a strong presence of Islamic extremists, some local groups - supported by government leaders - have launched a violent anti-Christian campaign. And as in the days of the Suharto regime (1967-1998), the government is feeding the ethnic and confessional divisions, in order to distract the public from the real problems of the people, including justice and rights, development policies and a serious and effective fight against corruption. Meanwhile, the bishop of Padang, worried by the growing "Christianophobia", is trying to mediate by maintaining "good relations" with the various groups and citizens' representatives, including the moderate Muslim wing.

The wave of "Christianophobia" in the third largest island in the Indonesian archipelago has taken on concerning contours in recent days, with the increase in protests in public squares. On November 19, a mob marched through the streets of the West Pasaman District to protest against "the growing presence" of "Catholic and Protestant schools" in the region. Leading the procession were members and leaders of Islamic extremist groups, chanting slogans and shouting at schools, churches and stores owned by the religious minority.

Among the many signs that stood out in the crowd, one reminded citizens that it is "morally obligatory for Muslim families not to send their children to school in Christian or Catholic institutions." Another poster invoked the closure "of Christian cafés and stores." And the real fear is that the campaign of hatred and ostracism could take on even darker, more violent contours.

Among the protesters' targets was also the Catholic Church of Sumber Karya, in West Pasaman, which is why local leaders have preferred to cancel the work of expansion and renovation, to avoid new tensions. Among the reasons for the attack on the building is the alleged lack of a building permit - the infamous Izin Mendirikan Bangunan (IMB) - a pretext often used to halt Christian works, centers and places of worship in Indonesia. A priest from the area told AsiaNews that all the procedures have been followed for obtaining a permit, but the authorities are resisting.

After Aceh, the only province in which Shariah law is in effect, the province of West Sumatra has the second-highest percentage of Muslims in the population and has many affinities with the first, including practices and regulations inspired by Islam and the Qur'an. It, too, is the scene of attacks against political leaders close to the minorities, as happened last year against the Catholic leader Supri, accused of "Christianizing" the zone. In addition to throwing rocks and stones at his house, the extremists repeatedly threatened him, ordering him to convert and embrace the faith of Mohammed. His dry response: "I'll never change religion," said Supri.

 

 


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See also
11/26/2004 VATICAN - YEMEN
Pope calls for peace, justice and tolerance in the fight against terrorism
05/29/2012 SYRIA
US, Europe and Australia expel Syrian diplomats
03/15/2010 INDONESIA
Aceh, Islamic terrorist killed in police raid
by Mathias Hariyadi
08/12/2005 INDONESIA
Indonesia: Government rejects integralists' request of to ban the Ahmadis
08/21/2014 INDONESIA - ISLAM
Borobudur, Islamists target Indonesia’s most important Buddhist temple
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
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.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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