JAKARTA, Indonesia (CDN) – About 200 demonstrators from hard-line Islamic organizations in West Java on Sunday (Dec. 12) disrupted the worship of a church in Rancaekek district, Bandung, driving more than 100 worshippers from the building.
Members of the Islamic Defenders Front, the Indonesian Ulama Forum and the Islamic Reformist Movement arrived with the Civil Service Police Unit of Rancaekek district and sealed the house, thus leaving other churches that use it without a worship venue. The protestors also disrupted the worship of six other churches meeting in homes the same day.
The demonstrators arrived at 9 a.m., when the Huria Kristen Batak Protestant (of HKBP) Bethania church building had begun worship in the building where a pastor and his family live. The protestors urged the local government to seal the building immediately because it was a private house rather than registered as a place of worship. more >>
A recent series of attacks aimed at churches has prompted Indonesian National Police to employ heightened security measures for the Christmas and New Year holidays, police spokesman Iskandar Hasan told reporters on Wednesday.
The statement followed an incident on the same day when shots were fired through the windows of the Muria Christian Church, a member of the Mennonite World Conference, in the city of Surakarta, Central Java.
Not far from the area, two homemade bombs were also discovered near churches. One exploded without casualties, and the other was found and defused. more >>
An American pilot working for a missionary agency died Sunday in a swimming accident while trying to save teenagers swept away from shore in Indonesia.
Benjamin Uskert, a pilot and mechanic serving in Sumatra, Indonesia, with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), was at a beach with a group of people from the local orphanage on Nov. 7. While they were at the beach, they saw two teens swim into deep waters that swept them away. Uskert and another adult swam out to help them, but Uskert and one of the youths were overcome by the waves and current.
The MAF pilot was pronounced dead at the scene while the body of one of the teenagers has not been recovered. more >>
Two catastrophes that struck Indonesia within a span of 24 hours have left more than 400 people dead and hundreds more missing, according to the latest estimate.
On Monday, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake off the coast of west Sumatra triggered a towering tsunami, flattening villages and displacing thousands. A day later, the central Java volcano erupted, killing at least 32 people.
While aid trickles in to the ravaged Southeast Asian country, Christian humanitarian group World Vision already has staff on the ground trying to assess the scope of the damage. more >>
JAKARTA, Indonesia (Compass Direct News) – 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 it. more >>
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has called upon Indonesia’s government to safeguard religious freedom and pluralism in the wake of attacks on Christians and Ahmadiyya Muslims in the country.
The Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace in Indonesia says that at least 30 attacks on churches have been reported so far this year, with extremist Islamist groups targeting churches in West Java in particular.
In one attack earlier this month, an elder of the Batak Christian Protestant Church in Bekasi was seriously injured when he was stabbed while on his way to a service. more >>