10/17/2013, 00.00
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East Jakarta, extremists threaten Catholics. Parish priest defends religious freedom

by Mathias Hariyadi
The parish of Kalvari , in Cipayung , is being targeted in a campaign against the local Catholic community . Banners and signs with threatening slogans appear near the mosque. A parishoner: years of harmony and coexistence at risk. New attacks ( verbal ) also against the church of St. Bernadette .

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The appearance of a banner with a threatening slogan written on purpose to inflame sentiments, threatens to scupper years of peaceful coexistence and good relations between Muslims and Christians. This is what is happening in the parish of Kalvari , in Cipayung , the urban area of ​​East Jakarta , a recently formed centre for Catholics who had been able to worship for several years without incident or tension. The local community does not intend to give in to these threats and, while wanting to avoid confrontation with the wing extremist, is by no means willing to remain helpless and passive. The issue could end up in court, as a result of a possible legal action brought by the parish priest " in defense of religious freedom."

The banner (pictured) , posted on a road leading to the main entrance of the Jami Ul Umar mosque, says that " the community of Cipayung rejects the possibility of a church , built illegally in the area, and calls on local government to resolve the situation as soon as possible". A very thinly veiled threat which puts a strain on the "harmony" and cohabitation of recent years. So far there have been no official claims of responsibility and no information about the authors.

A source for AsiaNews , on condition of anonymity , reports that the presence of such a banner constitutes a provocation , which could "undermine harmony" that so far has reigned between the two communities . The parish priest Fr . Martin Hadiwijava Pr - an expert in martial arts and engaged for some time in dialogue and peaceful coexistence with Muslims - says that such provocations can not be tolerated because they may open the door to a real campaign of persecution by extremist groups. He invites all to "defend the fundamental rights" guaranteed by the Constitution and announces the use of legal action against anyone spreading sectarian violence .

Meanwhile, banners and other posters, the work of as yet unidentified fundamentalists, appeared in Ciledug , in the regency of Tangerang ( Banten province ), where a few weeks ago the local lunatic fringe challenged the creation of the parish church of St. Bernadette . Catholics have obtained building permits, including the infamous IMB , but this was not enough to appease the Islamist faction that continues to launch threats and warnings.

Indonesia 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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