Church bulldozed – violence against Christians in Indonesia

Violence against Christians in Indonesia continues with a number of new incidents occurring last week.

On Thursday, the congregation of the Batak Protestant Church (HKBP) in Taman Sari, Setu district in Bekasi regency, watched the local administration demolish their unfinished church building.

The congregation formed a barrier between their church and the idling bulldozer.

They sang Batak hymns in the afternoon heat, wailing between the verses, as church member Megarenta Sihite shouted at the officers from the Bekasi District Public Order Agency.

“What is our sin, sir?” she screamed. “Is it a sin to pray? Show us where our mistake is. I thought this is a democratic country. Please, Mr. President, we were born here in this country with five religions. We never did anything bad to their houses of worship. Why are they doing this to us?”

Around 2:45 p.m the church building was demolished amid cheers of “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) from members of the hard-line Taman Sari Islamic People’s Forum (FUIT) who had gathered outside the building.

On Friday an Advent church in West Java’s city of Tasikmalaya was vandalised by an unknown group early on Friday morning.

Police said that vandals damaged the church walls, gate and construction materials, which were intended to be used during the church’s renovation.

On Saturday evening, members of Muslim community groups closed off the Damai Kristus Catholic Church in Tambora, West Jakarta.

The attack took place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with dozens of members of the congregation unable to leave, while other congregation members were locked out.

Rev. Matius Widyo said around 20 police officers were guarding the place but did nothing to the people who sealed the church. “They seemed to start to take action only when a fight broke out,” he told The Jakarta Post.

On Sunday the congregation of Damai Kristus held their Sunday service protected by the police to prevent another lock out by members of Muslim community groups.

Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Rikwanto said that around 50 officers had been deployed to stave off possible conflict with the Joint Forum of Mosque, Mushollah and Koran Reciting Groups (FKM3T) members.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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