09/07/2016, 09.17
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Surakarta, Islamic radicals disrupt the celebration of Mass

by Mathias Hariyadi

The Catholic community was commemorating the 1,000 days since the death of a faithful, when two Muslims began to threaten and intimidate the priest and those present. Sent away, they returned with more people demanding the Mass be suspended. The priest forced to flee with his assistant.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Islamic extremists have forced the parish priest of St. Peter Purwosari, near Surakarta (Central Java), to suspend the Mass and to flee for his safety. Yesterday evening about 200 Christians had gathered to celebrate Mass in commemoration of the deceased. At one point, two Muslims, hidden in the crowd, interrupted the celebration threatening those present.

Celebrating Mass 1000 days after the death of a loved one is a tradition of Java Catholics, during which they commemorate their loved ones with a religious event that non-Catholics are also invited to attend. Usually the Mass is celebrated in the house of the family, but this time, given the great number of guests, the head of the village was asked for permission to use a public facility. The village chief, not a Catholic, had given approval and also sat among the faithful.

After the first reading of the Bible the two hecklers began to insult the priest and present. The police were able to remove them, but they came back with another group of people and continued to disturb the celebration.

One Catholic says: "Just after Communion they began to intimidate those present, including children, demanding that the Mass be interrupted. Eventually the priest, Fr. Adrianus Sulistiyono, was forced to flee along with his assistant".

It is not the first time a Christian celebration has been interrupted by force by Muslims in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world. Inspired by the killing of Fr. Jacques Hamel in France, on August 28 last,  a 17 year old attempted to stab a priest in the parish of St. Joseph in Medan (North Sumatra). In October 2015, in Yogyakarta, some radical Islamists blocked the recitation of a rosary.

The Islamic religious Wedi Klaten Kiai Hajj Susilo said that Muslim radicals also interrupt commemorations of the deceased made by Muslims, because they consider it heretical.

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