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Worldwide Christian Persecutions for 'Indonesia'

Uptick in Church Closures, Attacks in Indonesia

Anti-Christian incidents on track to surpass last year’s increase, group says. By Vishal Arora and Victor Ambarita

Islamist Mob Throws Urine at Church in Indonesia

Pastor receives death threat; no arrests so far. By Vishal Arora

Harsh Era Looms in Aceh, Indonesia

Election of hard-line Islamic governor followed by closure of 17 churches. By Victor Ambarita

Indonesian President Sidesteps Church Controversy

Declines to enforce Supreme Court ruling that GKI permit be reinstated. By Victor Ambarita

Indonesian Mayor’s Defiance Said to Show Government Weakness

Civil rights groups will file suit against Bogor over refusal to reinstate church license. By Victor Raqual Ambarita

Why Is Islamic Extremism Growing in Indonesia?

Expediency is behind government’s reluctance to check the extremism that is fueling terrorism. By Vishal Arora

Indonesian Church Denied Site as New Bill Threatens Freedoms

‘Religious Tolerance Bill’ would only entrench discrimination, critics say. By Sarah Page

Why Is Islamic Extremism Growing in Indonesia?

Expediency is behind government’s reluctance to check the extremism that is fueling terrorism. By Vishal Arora

Suicide Bomber of Church in Indonesia Identified

Attack ‘first of its kind in Indonesia;’ police find similar bomb near church in Ambon. By Sarah Page

Mayor in Indonesia Again Balks at Granting Church Permit

Bogor chief dismisses ombudsman’s recommendation to obey Supreme Court ruling. By Victor Raqual Ambarita

Motives for Church Burnings in Indonesia Questioned

Outside Islamist groups use lack of permits as pretext for violence. By Victor Raqual Ambarita

Indonesian ‘Blasphemy’ Law a Weapon for Radical Islam

Rarely-used law in ‘moderate’ nation could provide alternate force against Christians. By Sarah Page

Indonesian Church Reports Defiant Mayor to National Police

Bogor official defies Supreme Court, revokes building permit; Christians kept from worship site. By Victor Raqual Ambarita

Christians Decry Malaysia’s Detention of Bible Books

After stopping 5,100 Bibles in 2009, authorities withhold 30,000 Malay-language copies. By Jasmine Kay

Light Sentences for Attack on Christians in Indonesia Condemned

Prosecutors’ refusal to file felony charges said to encourage more violence. By Victor Raqual

Christian Leaders in Indonesia Decry Lax Security after Attacks

Two churches, school damaged by massive Islamic extremist throng. By Victor Raqual

Indonesian Churches Wary of Islamist Offer of ‘Protection’

Following attacks, Islamic Defenders Front’s Christmas gesture rings hollow. By Sarah Page

Islamists Raid Houses Churches in West Java, Indonesia

Demonstrators drive out 100 Christians in one service, stop worship in others. By Victor Raqual

Islamic Groups in Indonesia Demonstrate against Worship in Mall

Permission for church services in shopping center not necessary, rights advocates say. By Victor Raqual

Islamic Groups Aim to Shut Down Church in Indonesia

Muslims protest West Java congregation as it worships. By Samuel Rionaldo

Church in Indonesia Forced to Accept Worship Terms of Islamists

Summary: JAKARTA, Indonesia, October 15 MPBS24/7 REPORT From CDN – A church in Banten Province that has been in conflict with Muslim groups for more than two years was compelled to cease meeting in the pastor’s home last week in a bid to put an end to harassment and threats. The Sepatan Baptist Christian Church (GKB Sepatan) in Pisangan Jaya village, Sepatan, in Tangerang district, conceded that it would no longer worship in the home of the Rev. Bedali Hulu but rather in the facilities of two other churches. In exchange, officials agreed to process a temporary worship permit that would presumably remove the pretext for Islamic protests against the church, but they refused to accept a deadline for doing so. Pastor Hulu argued at the Oct. 7 meeting with officials and Islamic groups that local government officials be given a three-month deadline for granting the temporary worship permit, but the officials insisted on a “flexible” time for issuing the permit. Pastor Hulu said he felt forced to accept the terms of officials and the Islamic groups represented by the Communication Forum for Religious Harmony of Tangerang City. Under the agreement, the congregation is to worship temporarily at the nearest church buildings, which are seven kilometers (nearly four miles) away in Kedaung, East Sepatan and belong to the Assemblies of God and Pentecostal Church in Indonesia. Those buildings are occupied during his church’s usual worship time, Pastor Hulu said, and family customs do not allow it to worship at later hours. Although the Muslim groups and city officials were able to dictate where the church should worship in the coming months, they allowed the congregation to worship in one of the church members’ homes on Sunday (Oct. 10), as long as it wasn’t Pastor Hulu’s house. “Next week, if the local government has not been able to facilitate a place of worship to us, then we will worship from house to house,” the pastor said.

PMMuslims in Bekasi, Indonesia Oppose Another Church Building

Summary: JAKARTA, Indonesia, October 13 MPBS24/7 CDN REPORT – Islamic organizations have mounted a campaign against the planned construction of Mother Teresa Catholic Church in West Java Province, where Christian leaders report 20 other churches have faced Muslim hostility since 2009. Muslim leaders said plans for the Mother Teresa church in the Cikarang area will make it the largest church building in Bekasi City. Adang Permana, general chairman of the Bekasi Islamic Youth Movement, said area Muslims oppose the church building because they fear it will become “a center of Christianization,” according to the Islamic website H.M. Dahlan, coordinator of United Muslim Action of Bekasi, said at a recent press conference that his group, along with “all Muslims, mosque congregations, leaders of women’s study groups, Quranic schools, and Islamic education foundations have firmly decided to reject the construction of Mother Teresa Catholic Church in Cikarang and request that the Bekasi Regency cancel all [construction] plans.” The Islamic groups also called on Bekasi officials to clamp down on “illegal churches” meeting in homes and shops and to block “all forms of Christianization” in the area. The Mother Teresa church applied for a building permit in 2006 and has met all legal requirements, but the Bekasi government has not yet acted on the application, said a clergyman from the church identified only as Pangestu. The parish now worships at the Trinity School auditorium. “There are no problems between the church and the local people,” Pangestu said.


INDONESIA September 8 MPBS24/7 REPORT FRom CDN – The Bogor city government in West Java re-sealed the Gereja Kristen Indonesia (GKI) Yasmin Church on Aug. 28, one day after security police had removed the seal and lock. Under cover of darkness, Bogor security police were ordered to secretly re-seal the church building at 11 p.m. the night before it was to be used for worship services. Jayadi Damanik, a member of the GKI Yasmin legal team, said security police had removed the lock and seal after church talks with the district officer, the Bogor police chief, the head of the security police and citizens who live near the church. In those talks all parties agreed that there was no reason to question the construction and presence of the GKI Yasmin Church, he said. The district officer and the Bogor police chief told church leaders that the original sealing of the church on April 11 was the unwarranted result of political pressure, he said. But on Aug. 28 at about 4 a.m., unknown persons locked the gate of the GKI Yasmin fence and placed a banner on it that read, “Because this building is continuing to be processed under the law, it cannot be used.” At 11 a.m. that day, the church took off the lock and removed the banner, but late that night security police resealed it with a new notice. Besides sealing the building under cover of darkness, Damanik said, there was no formal notice and no church witnesses. “Why did they do this at night, like thieves?” Damanik said. “Because of this, we do not accept the seal as legal.”


INDONESIA September 15 MPBS24/7 REPORT Fron CDN A court in West Java Province has revoked a local decree that forbade Christian activities of a church in Bekasi and has ordered officials to allow the Christians to establish a place of worship. After months of conflict and legal battles, the State Administrative Court in Bandung on Sept. 3 revoked the Dec. 31, 2009 decree prohibiting Christian activities of Batak Christian Protestant Filadelfia Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestant, or HKBP Filadelfia) in Jejalan village, Bekasi. The church had argued that the decree, along with the closure of their worship building on Jan. 12, resulted from pressure by Islamist groups that did not represent the wishes of the area residents. The Rev. Palti Panjaitan of HKBP Filadelfia said he was happy that the church at last had found fair authorities who based their decisions on the rule of law, “unlike the regent of Bekasi, who often has been unjust in making a decision by tending to side with a small group of people.” Since 2008 HKBP Filadelfia has sought permission for a worship place from Bekasi Regent H. Sa’duddin, who declined to grant it under pressure from a small group of Islamists called the Forum Islamic Ummah Jejalen Raya Bekasi, according to church leaders. As a result, the church had been holding services on a strip of roadside land in front of their temporary site, using umbrellas to protect them from the intense heat of the sun and from sudden rainstorms. The judges, identified only as Setiobudi, Irna, and Susilowati, ruled that the regent of Bekasi should issue a permit for the church to establish a place of worship. “This point is important because if the regent of Bekasi does what the judge said, then we will build our church and no longer serve in the hot sun and the rains that sometimes come unexpectedly,” Pastor Panjaitan said.


September 22 MPBS24/7 REPORT From CDN – 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 church’s building permit; the Supreme Court later upheld the Bandung court’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.


INDONESIA September 29 MPBS24/7 REPORT From CDN – A West Java church has agreed to move temporarily to a government-selected site following Islamist harassment that included a Sept. 12 attack on two of its leaders. The Batak Christian Protestant Church (Huria Kristen Batak Protestan, or HKBP) in Ciketing village, Bekasi, decided in a congregational meeting on Sunday (Sept. 26) to accept a government offer to move worship services to the former Organization and Political Party building on the condition that local officials will keep a promise to build a new house of worship for them within two years in the Mustika Sari district. The Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak, who received hospital treatment after she was struck with a wooden plank by suspected Islamic extremists in the Sept. 12 attack, said that the church was ready to stop struggling. “We are tired of being intimidated and terrorized,” Pastor Simanjuntak said. “We will be able to worship quietly and peacefully.” Church lawyer Saor Siagian said that the church had accepted the temporary move with the understanding that the Bekasi municipal government must fulfill its pledge. The government agreed to build a new church building to replace the structure the church is leaving on a 2,500-square meter lot belonging to PT Timah, the Government Tin Mining Co. in the Mustika Sari area of Bekasi. The church met at the new site on Sunday with dozens of police guarding the building.

Despite Court Victories, Church Building in Indonesia Blocked

Islamists attack, issue threats to halt construction of worship center in West Java. JAKARTA, Indonesia, September 22 MPBS24/7 REPORT From(CDN) — 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.

Judges Rule Church in Bekasi, Indonesia Can Worship

The State Administrative Court in Bandung revoked a decree prohibiting the Christian activities of Batak Christian Protestant Filadelfia Church in Bekasi. (Photo: Compass) Court revokes decree prohibiting Christian activities of HKBP Filadelfia.

Indonesian Church Leaders Wounded in Attack

The Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak is treated at a hospital after Sunday's attack, in which an elder of her church was stabbed. (Photo: Compass) Elder remains in critical condition after being stabbed in heart, stomach.

Church Building in Bogor, Indonesia Re-opens – for a Day

GKI Yasmin Church leaders said the congregation in Bogor will continue worshipping outside its building. (Photo: Compass) City officials order security police to close church under cover of darkness.

‘Unchecked Extremism’ behind Attacks on Churches in Indonesia

Muslims joined Christians in inter-faith worship to protest “government inaction” over attacks on Christians and church closures. (Photo: Compass) Christians, moderate Muslims blame growth of Islamism under ‘weak’ government.

Mob Threats Lead to Closure of Church Building in Indonesia

North Sumatra congregation unable to withstand pressure from local officials, Muslim clerics. JAKARTA, Indonesia, August 13 MPBS24/7 REPORT From(CDN) — Police and local government officials joined forces with a Muslim mob to close a church in North Sumatra Province on July 30, with church leaders forced to promise never to hold services at the site.

Hundreds Injure Church Members in Bekasi, Indonesia

Police barricade ineffective; church leaders demand a suitable venue for worship. DUBLIN, August 9 MPBS24/7 REPORT From (CDN) — Leaders of a church in West Java, Indonesia demanded justice from police after a fifth attack from Muslim protestors left at least a dozen people injured yesterday.

Muslim Protestors Surround Worshipers in Bekasi, Indonesia

Since Batak Christian Protestant Church was sealed on June 20, the congregation has met in the open air amid hostile Muslims. (Photo: Compass) Tensions mount as congregation asserts right to worship.

Worldwide Christian Persecutions

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