10/14/2005, 00.00
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Islamic extremists attack Catholics reciting rosary

The attack took place on 11 October in a private house. Armed men broke in and threatened to burn the place down if the prayer went ahead. Fears are rising about further violence against Indonesian believers.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A group composed of Islamic extremists attacked Catholics praying the rosary on 11 October and threatened to burn down the house they were gathered in. The assailants, who claimed to be part of the Islamic Defender Front (Front Pembela Islam, FPI), invaded the house of one of the Catholic community belonging to the parish of Christ Salvator in western Jakarta.

The men forced the marian prayer to stop immediately, threatening to burn the place down. They forced all those present including the Ketua Lingkungan (informal parish leader - ed. note) to sign a declaration that they will not hold any more rosary gatherings in houses in the area.

The attack has fuelled fears and apprehension among Indonesian Catholics who fear further possible hostile moves from the FPI. The front is also behind the closure of 24 home-churches in western Java.

For Catholics all over the world, including those in Indonesia, October and May are months dedicated especially to the Virgin Mary. In Indonesia, believers manifest their faith by undertaking pilgrimages to the country's Marian shrines and by reciting the rosary in parishes.

Meeting to recite the rosary together, better known as Doa Rosario Bersama, is usually organised once a week in one of the houses of the community.

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