DESPITE COURT VICTORIES, CHURCH BUILDING IN BLOCKED
September 22 MPBS24/7 REPORT From CDN â€“ A year after a church in West Java won a court battle over whether it could erect a worship building, Islamic extremists have blocked construction through attacks and intimidation tactics, church leaders said. A mob of 50 Muslim extremists on Sept. 12 attacked construction workers at the Batak Christian Protestant Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestan, or HKBP) site in Cinere village, near Depok City, in Limo district, eyewitnesses said; the 24 workers, who were on break, fled from the attackers, who chased them brandishing wooden boards studded with nails. Cinere village police arrived to restore order, but the mob left behind seven banners opposing the construction. Three days later, Islamic groups demonstrated near the construction site, demanding that all Christian activities in the area cease. About 70 Muslims participated in the demonstration, trying to approach the construction site until hundreds of police repelled them. The church won a case in West Java State Administrative Court on Sept. 17, 2009, rescinding a local order that had revoked the churchâ€™s building permit; the Supreme Court later upheld the Bandung courtâ€™s ruling allowing construction. Betty Sitompul, vice-chair of the church building committee, said she has received many intimidating text messages from a group opposed to the construction. Despite having the law on their side, church leaders said many in the congregation are haunted with dread amid outbreaks of Islamic ire at the presence of churches in West Java, such as the Sept. 12 attack on the HKBP church in Ciketing, Bekasi, in which an elder was seriously wounded and a pastor injured.