ICC Note: As feared, churches have been burned in retaliation for the burning of a mosque in Indonesia, even though it was ruled an accident by police.
Indonesia has a history of religious tolerance, and religious freedom is enshrined in the constitution, but government authorities are afraid to do anything that might upset the Islamic radicals who are causing most of the problems.
By Mathias Hariyadi
A new wave of sectarian violence is sweeping Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation. In the recent past, the country has been the scene of a rising Islamist tide that has induced many Indonesians to join the Islamic State group.
In the last two days, fire has been set to two Protestant churches in Central Java in retaliation of last week’s burning of a mosque in Tolikara, Papua province, which left one person dead and 12 wounded, this according to investigators.
The latest occurred last night when a group of unknown assailants set fire to a Protestant church in Purworejo.
The front of the building was seriously damaged, the local pastor, Rev Ibnu Prabowo, said.
Previously, a “house of prayer” was hit in Bantul, Yogyakarta, when it was sprayed with gasoline that was then lighted. The culprits’ identity remains unknown in this case as well.
Speaking to AsiaNews, Rev Prabowo noted that relations between local Christians and Muslims have always been good, marked by dialogue and collaboration. However, “some provocative actions are undermining interdenominational harmony,” he lamented.
“Because of the Tolikara incident, we will torch more churches,” read the message attackers left at the site of the Purworejo church fire, words that confirms what the minister said.
Extremist violence in central Java is a consequence of the torching of a small mosque in Tolikara, Papua province, an event that has caused confusion and concern among Indonesia’s political and religious leaders.…
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