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Indonesian church threatened by Muslims for holding outdoor services

Country/Region: Indonesia, South and East Asia

An Indonesian congregation has come under threat for holding services on the street in front of its half-constructed church after its building permit was revoked.

During a protest by Muslim groups last week, the church in Bogor, West Java, was warned of “anarchy” if the congregation did not take their services elsewhere. And the congregation feared for its safety after receiving a letter dated 2 July from local residents, calling on the authorities to put an end to all religious services and activities by the congregation. The church has also been under sustained pressure from the Mayor of Bogor to stop holding services outside the building.

Indonesian-Supreme-Court-4X3.jpg
The Supreme Court ordered the church
be reopened but city chiefs have refused

The congregation has been doing this since their permit for the building was revoked in 2008. The Supreme Court ordered in December 2010 that the church be reopened, but Bogor city chiefs have refused to comply.

Church spokesman Bona Sigalingging said they would continue to hold services on the street until the church was reopened. The city authorities have tried to move them to another building, but Mr Sigalingging said this was not part of the solution, adding,

The mayor created a new problem by ignoring the supremacy of the law. The church will not be chased away from the road where it meets.

Thankfully, a protest against the church by Muslims on Sunday (10 July) did not turn violent as feared. The demonstrators called for the congregation to move somewhere else, saying pavements were not a place for worship. Police officers were deployed to the scene to prevent clashes.

International attention

Human Rights’ group Amnesty International has intervened on behalf of the church, urging the authorities to “take adequate measures to guarantee the safety of the ... congregation, in accordance with their right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

The group also urged the government to conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations into all reports of intimidation, harassment and attacks against congregation members, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

And the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 7 July expressing “grave concern at the incidents of violence against religious minorities” in Indonesia and called on the authorities to repeal or revise local blasphemy, heresy and religious defamation by-laws, which “are open to misuse”.

Islamic militants are very active in Bogor, and there has been a long series of anti-Christian incidents in the area. The authorities have failed to rein in the Islamists and have sometimes promoted their agenda.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Pray for a church leader in Sri Lanka, S.S. Johnpillai, who was threatened at gunpoint by attackers who claimed to be Special Forces officers. The minister was in a hut next to his church building in Guadalupe, Trincomolee when, he said, the men “appeared out of nowhere”. The intruders put a gun to Johnpillai’s head and accused him of holding a Communion service in honour of the founder of the Tamil Tigers, the government’s opponents in the country’s long and bloody civil war. The government had that day made it a criminal offence to commemorate the group. The gunmen ignored Johnpillai’s protests that he had not dedicated Communion to the group’s founder, and they threatened to shoot him. Ask the Lord to support and strengthen Johnpillai as he recovers from this terrifying ordeal. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Lift up to the Lord persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka, where at least 65 anti-Christian incidents took place during 2013, including repeat attacks on several believers and their property in October 2013. However, a Sri Lankan government minister from a Buddhist nationalist party denied the accounts, saying that they might be “made up”. The minister claimed that Sri Lankans are “one family … trying to live together after a long civil war”. Pray that the Sri Lankan government will recognise the danger that our brothers and sisters face from militant Buddhists and that the authorities will provide effective protection for vulnerable Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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