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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
07/15/2011 INDONESIA – ISLAM
Accepted by most Indonesians, polygamy is rejected by young people
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

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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