Friday, September 2, 2011

Indonesians Experiencing Growing Religious Conflict and Persecution of Christians

8/24/11 Indonesia (EWTN News) - An Indonesian mayor’s attempt to ban Christian churches on streets with Islamic names comes at a time when religious conflicts have become more numerous in the country.
“We have to acknowledge that conflicts partly fueled by religious diversity are on the rise,” said Fr. Benny Susetyo, an official for interfaith dialogue for the Indonesian Bishops Conference. However, he attributed most of the conflicts not to inter-religious tensions but to the failure of law enforcement officials to do their jobs, the Jakarta Post reports.

In Bogor, West Java churchgoers of the Taman Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church were forced to hold religious services in the middle of the street this past March because the city administration sealed off their church. The city’s mayor, Diani Budiarto, said the church could not reopen because it is built on a street with an Islamic name. He is seeking a decree to make it illegal to open churches on such streets. The mayor has defied Supreme Court rulings and official instructions to open the church.
The church’s spokesman Bona Sigalingging said the mayor’s proposal was part of a “dangerous” trend.
The Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, a human rights group, said that extremists’ attacks on religious freedom have more than tripled in the last two years. The institute found that at least 99 cases of violence and conflicts had been reported this year as of July 2011, an apparent surge from 94 cases reported in all of 2010. The incidents include physical abuse, interference with groups’ prayers and the burning of houses of worship. In 2009 there were only 18 reported incidents and only 17 in 2008.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono relies heavily on Islamic parties in parliament. Critics have charged that he has remained silent in the face of mistreatment by minorities.
Indonesia is a secular country of about 240 million people, about 10 percent of whom are Christian (Source).

No comments:

Post a Comment