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Islamists hurl urine and sewage at Indonesian congregation during services

Country/Region: Indonesia, South and East Asia

The congregation of an Indonesian church has come under attack twice in four days by Islamists who threw bags of urine, sewage, oil, rotten eggs and stones at them.

Bekasi_street_Indonesia_4X3.jpg
The church meets in Bekasi
on the outskirts of Jakarta
Natalia Saragih / CC BY-NC 3.0

The first incident happened on 17 May as the Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) met in Bekasi on the outskirts of Jakarta to celebrate the ascension of Christ. A mob of hundreds of Islamists launched their assault, shouting threats and insults at the Christians, as the minister started to address the congregation.

The Rev. Palti Panjaitan said:

Police tried to talk to them, but the mob passed through police and showered us with urine and dirty water. Others threw stones at us.

Then on Sunday morning (20 May) as the congregation gathered for a service, they came under attack again by around 400 Islamists. The mob tried to block the Christians from reaching their site, threatened them and then threw sewage, water, used oil, mud, rotten eggs, sticks and other blunt objects at them.

Mr Panjaitan said:

What scares us most is that the number of police was so small compared to the angry mob. It is clear that they did not have the strength to repel the attackers.

The Filidelfia church has faced hostility and opposition from both the local authorities and Islamists for a number of years. It has been holding services outdoors and in homes since its building was sealed off by the authorities in January 2010 following three years of legal wrangling over a permit.

Despite meeting all the requirements for a building permit, the Bekasi authorities refused to grant one. Filidelfia took the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favour in July 2011, ordering the Bekasi authorities to issue a permit. But they have ignored the ruling.

Bomb blast

Elsewhere in Indonesia, a predominantly Christian neighbourhood in Ambon in the Moluccas came under attack in violence that started on 14 May. A bomb exploded, injuring dozens of people, and homes and cars were set alight. Dozens of families have fled, fearing further attack.

And in Picuan, East Minahasa, North Sulawesi, a small Protestant church – the only Christian place of worship in the area – was set on fire. Scores of homes and cars were also torched in the violence on 9 May.

These attacks are particularly concerning because of the history of brutal anti-Christian violence in the Moluccas and Sulawesi regions. Islamist group Laskar Jihad carried out in a genocidal “holy” war there between 1999 and 2001. Militants attacked Christian villages, homes and churches. Some 10,000 people were killed (some estimates suggest 30,000) and half a million were displaced during the conflict. Local Christians were murdered, tortured, forcibly converted to Islam, forcibly circumcised and virtually enslaved.

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

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    • Heavenly Father, we pray to You for our Christian brothers and sisters in north-eastern Nigeria, who are so vulnerable in the face of attacks by Boko Haram militants. We remember especially those who used to live in Madagali, in Adamawa state, until their town was seized by Boko Haram two months ago. We think of those who were betrayed into the hands of Boko Haram by their neighbours pointing out Christian homes or places where Christians had hidden. We bring before You those who saw their menfolk beheaded, and women forcibly converted to Islam. We cry out to You to intervene and bring an end to the murderous attacks by Boko Haram. We pray for all the thousands of Nigerian Christians who have suffered in similar attacks that they will not lose hope or faith in You, but will know Your peace which passes understanding. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 24 hours ago

    • Pray for a pastor in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania whose home was attacked on 17 May; two of his children were injured. When he went to report the incident to the police, he was falsely accused of raping a young woman who had left Islam to follow Christ. The pastor had taken her into his home, along with four other converts, after she was thrown out by her family; it was they who made the accusation against him. He has faced much opposition because of his fruitful outreach to Muslims, and several failed attempts have been made to frame him with false accusations. Pray that the sovereign Lord will help him and that he will not be disgraced (Isaiah 50:7-9). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

    • A church on Mafia Island, part of the Zanzibar archipelago, was attacked on 9 May by around 80 young Muslim men armed with arrows and knives. The church members, who are mainly converts from Islam, had gathered for their weekly overnight prayer session when the attackers appeared, shouting “death to ritad’i” (those who leave Islam). They set fi re to the church, leaving the interior in ruins, and then went in search of the pastor, but he was not at home. The incident followed a bomb blast at another church in Mwanza in mainland Tanzania on 5 May, in which a worker at the church rest house was critically injured. Pray that the authorities will effectively address the increasing incidence of attacks against churches. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for the many Christian victims of kidnapping by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Remember especially the more than two hundred teenage girls who were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno state, on the night of 14 April. A video released in May showed eight of the girls speaking about their ordeal; they plead for their release, and one says, “I never expected to suffer like this in my life.” It is believed that they have been divided into at least four groups and that most of them are being held in camps outside Nigeria. They are hungry, while some are unwell and need medical attention. Pray for their safe release and for that of other kidnapped Christians. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

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