11/18/2021 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – An attack on a Christian man in Indonesia took place at the end of October, but only surfaced in recent days. The man is a member of the Protestant Huria Batak Church (HKBP) in Amansari, in the district of Karawang, East Java, Indonesia.
The perpetrators of the attack were a group of unidentified Islamic radicals. These radicals attacked the man’s house and extensively damaged it. The violence was triggered by rumors which spread among Islamic extremist groups that the man’s house was being used as a place of worship for Christians. Christians in Indonesia often turn to house churches, as they face great difficulties in constructing real churches since there are many government rules and criteria at play. For instance, interested parties need to submit the authorization of at least 60 residents to get the process moving forward. Even if they have the authorization, construction can still be interrupted and permits can still be revoked by the government, which faces pressure from Islamic extremists.
With respect to the attack on this man’s house and the perception that it was housing a church, several governmental and religious figures in Indonesia have issued statements or taken action following reports of the incident. The Synod of the Indonesian Protestant Church issued an official note on their website stating that the house where the attack occurred is a private residence, never used as a place of worship. It has hosted organizational meetings with laity, they said, but never worship services.
Further, government officials associated with the Ministry for Religious Affairs have also condemned the attack or taken action. For instance, Mohammad Nuruzzaman, a collaborator of the Ministry for Religious Affairs, condemned the attack and expressed solidarity with the Synod of the Indonesian Protestant Church. He stated, “Violent gestures of this nature are illegal and contrary to all the principles of any religion.” He further added that in the event of disputes, violence should not transpire but problems should instead be resolved diplomatically and peacefully. In terms of taking action, in recent days the Ministry of Religious Affairs has sent an investigative team to the area to take stock of the situation, and to work towards a solution together with the Karawang Forum for Interreligious Dialogue.
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