Home > Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > Indonesia: Muslim Extremists and Authorities Shut Down Protestant Church in West Java

Indonesia: Muslim Extremists and Authorities Shut Down Protestant Church in West Java

By Mathias Hariyadi – “Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A group of extremists from the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) have shut down a Protestant church in Jatinangor, in Bandung sub district, last Friday, the Muslim day of prayer. As in previous occasions in which Christian places of worship were seized and religious activities interrupted, the fundamentalists were aided and abetted by the local administration.

Recently, rumours spread according to which the Protestant church was a haven for a ‘community of newly baptised’. Extremists also accuse Rev Bernard Maukar, head of the Christian community, of engaging in proselytising in a predominantly Muslim area.

Arief Saefolah, village chief in Mekargalih (where the church is located), said he had the right to close down the place of worship as ‘illegal’ because it was within his jurisdiction. ‘This area is under my authority,’ he told the Christian community. ‘Please, get out as soon as possible.’

Tensions had been rising until last Friday’s showdown. Saefolah and other local security officials (Satpol PP), plus 30 FPI members, seized all Christian properties, including chairs, musical instruments, tables and cars.” Read more.

Over 50 Christian churches shut down in Indonesia since 2010 – “Jakarta (Agenzia Fides) – In 2010, 47 churches were shut down in Indonesia and in the first 4 months of 2011 9 Christian places of worship have been shut down or demolished: this is what ‘Jakarta Christian Communication Forum’ (FKKJ) reports to Fides, these churches are considered ‘illegal’ or ‘unauthorized’, and this is why the civil authorities, in Java and other provinces of Indonesia, imposed the closure and suspension of all activities of worship. In a note sent to Fides, the Forum of Christians in Jakarta, which includes leaders of all denominations, asks itself ‘why is this only applied to the Christian churches and not other places of worship’, noting a discriminatory practice, which implies a subtle pressure on the believers in Christ. Local authorities sometimes fail to give an answer to this question. The official reasons for the closure of churches speak of ‘houses used as places of worship, without a license’ or without the minimum number of 60 faithful. But it is, in most cases, the measures taken following protests from Muslim radical groups…” Read more.

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