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Increasing violence against Christians in Indonesia

Catholic World News - September 23, 2010

Thirty Christian churches have been attacked in Indonesia this year, according to a statement issued September 23 by Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The organization, which draws attention to the persecution of Christians around the world, noted:

Churches in Indonesia, particularly West Java, are facing an increasing campaign of intimidation and harassment by extremist Islamist groups. On 12 September, an elder of the Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) in Bekasi, West Java, was stabbed in his heart and stomach on his way to a service, and the Rev. Luspida Simanjuntak was beaten on her head, face and back with a wooden block. In August, several hundred members of the Islamic People’s Forum and the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) assaulted members of the congregation who were worshipping in the open air after their church building had been forced to close. According to the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, at least 30 attacks on churches have been reported so far this year.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim community is also facing increased persecution, the organization said.

Indonesia, which has a reputation for religious tolerance, is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. 3% of the nation’s 224.9 million people are Catholic, according to Vatican statistics; 6% are Protestant, and 86% are Muslim.

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