Indonesian Islamic Extremists Continue to Persecute Christians Under Legal Protection

( [email protected] ) Mar 04, 2004 04:57 AM EST

Jakarta, Indonesia, - Christian persecution has skyrocketed since the signing of the “Letter of Decision no. 137” in 2002, in which the government ruled that churches in West Jakarta could be closed down simply by consent of the local community. Under the pretense of “public consent” Islamic radicals have either destroyed or closed down more than a dozen churches all over Indonesia since the decree’s inaction in 2002.

In one incident in November 30, 2003, Islamic protestors bearing jerry cans filled with gasoline gathered at the Bethel Church, in Pahlawan Revolusi. The mob threatened to burn down the church if the congregation did not leave the church.

In another incident from January 6 of this year, a bomb was discovered in a church in Medan, North Sumatra. The bomb was later deactivated by local authorities. Three days later, a mob of a hundred radicals stopped renovation at the Geraja Protestant Indonesian Church, and destroyed the furniture and fittings inside. Sunday, January 25, Islamic radical closed down seven churches in one day in Java and Sumatra.

In recent developments, several church construction efforts have ceased from unchecked Islamic mob violence resulting from current Muslim campaigns to exploit this 2002 ruling.