Friday, September 02, 2005

Persecution in West Java

Muslim Militants Close Churches in West Java

Sources in Indonesia have informed us that the campaign by a radical Islamic group to close down Christian churches in the province of West Java has escalated in recent days. Members of the Indonesian Council of Ulama (MUI), an organization of Muslim clerics that receives 5 billion Rupia (nearly US$600,000) in support from the government of Indonesia, entered eight churches during worship services on Sunday, August 14, and ordered the churches closed. Sunday's incident brings to 35 the number of West Java churches shut down since the MUI issued a series of eleven fatwas, or religious rulings, at the end of July. Among other things, the fatwas condemned religious teachings influenced by pluralism, liberalism and secularism as "against Islam," directed Muslims to consider Islam to be the one true religion and all other faiths to be wrong, forbade marriages between Muslims and adherents of other religions and denounced Muslims who prayed with persons from other traditions. Many observers see a connection between the issuing of the fatwas and the increase in church closures.

It is also noteworthy that both the announcement of the fatwas and the escalation in the church-closing campaign have taken place since the beginning of the trial of three Indonesian women on charges of enticing Muslim children to convert to Christianity. As we reported last month (see story), three Christian women who ran an after-school program called "Cheerful Sunday" in the Indramayu district of West Java were arrested in May and put on trial at the end of June. Their trial, which convenes for only two hours every Thursday, has been marred by loud and boisterous protests by radical Islamic elements both outside and inside the courtroom. The protestors have coached witnesses, called for the execution of the defendants and sought to intimidate the judges, openly threatening them if they fail to bring a guilty verdict. A European observer of the court proceedings on August 11, who was herself handled roughly and doused with water by the protestors as she entered the courtroom, said that she saw no way for the women to receive a fair trial under the circumstances.

Read the rest of the article


Ronald said...

already indonesia is a country in a mess, now this...
i wonder how things are going to be in the future...
please pray that things will get better. thanks.
PS:where can i get to see the "story" that you related to in: "(see story)"?

The Hedonese said...

Hi Ronald

Click on "Read the rest of the story"...

How is your marketplce ministry in Indonesia coming along? Do keep us updated... We'd network!

Lord, have mercy upon your people in Asia... may your justice roll like rivers and righteousness like a never ending stream!

For the sake of Your Son, Amen.

Ronald said...

Thanks for the clarification.
Btw, i'm not a pastor, just an ordinary student in Malaysia.
By Indonesian law, i really don't see what's wrong with the matter of conversion since Indonesia gives its citizens the freedom to choose religions. It's the MUI stepping over the line. At least now i know where a large sum of the tax has gone to, so many poor people are suffering in need, but the government happily chose to 'contribute' the 6 billion rupiah to such nonsense.
Let's pray that these brave ladies will be alright. The Lord knows and will see to it that justice is put to stand.

Anonymous said...

i've just watched the video of the trial, being an Indonesian i well understand every single word these people said. count the number of times they mentioned the word "justice" (keadilan), do they even know what it means? why is it that these people can't think more rationally? by gathering such a crowd shouting here and there, they themselves have disrupted the process of justice, putting pressure on the court to give a verdict that will please them. it's as clear as saying: "punish Rebekka, or we will wreak havoc here". have they no sense of order? how can they not even be ashamed to bring in the name of their Allah, whom through the prophet Muhammad himself have been portrayed to be wise, full of patience, gentle, always resorting to peace; such as in the case of the following famous story of the prophet Muhammad:

Setelah mereka berusaha membongkar batu hijau yang terdapat di
situ dengan pacul tidak berhasil, dibiarkannya batu itu
sebagai fondasi bangunan. Dan gunung-gunung sekitar tempat itu
sekarang orang-orang Quraisy mulai mengangkuti batu-batu
granit berwarna biru, dan pembangunanpun segera dimulai.
Sesudah bangunan itu setinggi orang berdiri dan tiba saatnya
meletakkan Hajar Aswad yang disucikan di tempatnya semula di
sudut timur, maka timbullah perselisihan di kalangan Quraisy,
siapa yang seharusnya mendapat kehormatan meletakkan batu itu
di tempatnya. Demikian memuncaknya perselisihan itu sehingga
hampir saja timbul perang saudara karenanya. Keluarga
Abd'd-Dar dan keluarga 'Adi bersepakat takkan membiarkan
kabilah yang manapun campur tangan dalam kehormatan yang besar
ini. Untuk itu mereka mengangkat sumpah bersama. Keluarga
Abd'd-Dar membawa sebuah baki berisi darah. Tangan mereka
dimasukkan ke dalam baki itu guna memperkuat sumpah mereka.
Karena itu lalu diberi nama La'aqat'd-Dam, yakni 'jilatan

Abu Umayya bin'l-Mughira dari Banu Makhzum, adalah orang yang
tertua di antara mereka, dihormati dan dipatuhi. Setelah
melihat keadaan serupa itu ia berkata kepada mereka:

"Serahkanlah putusan kamu ini di tangan orang yang pertama
sekali memasuki pintu Shafa ini."

Tatkala mereka melihat Muhammad adalah orang pertama memasuki
tempat itu, mereka berseru: "Ini al-Amin; kami dapat menerima

Lalu mereka menceritakan peristiwa itu kepadanya. Iapun
mendengarkan dan sudah melihat di mata mereka betapa
berkobarnya api permusuhan itu. Ia berpikir sebentar, lalu
katanya: "Kemarikan sehelai kain," katanya. Setelah kain
dibawakan dihamparkannya dan diambilnya batu itu lalu
diletakkannya dengan tangannya sendiri, kemudian katanya;
"Hendaknya setiap ketua kabilah memegang ujung kain ini."

Mereka bersama-sama membawa kain tersebut ke tempat batu itu
akan diletakkan. Lalu Muhammad mengeluarkan batu itu dari kain
dan meletakkannya di tempatnya. Dengan demikian perselisihan
itu berakhir dan bencana dapat dihindarkan.

[excerpt from:

if they so believe in their Allah then they should have known that Allah detest such harsh way of dealing. what's wrong with these people? the Muslims here in Malaysia have better understanding and the Muslims in Indonesia seriously need a lot of learning to do from the Malaysian Muslims. these Indonesian Muslims seem to have turned their religion to such a clannish thing. that they're worshipping their own needs and desires, no longer that of their Allah.

i'm just sounding my opinion here and in no way wish to provoke anyone. although honestly, as a human, i'm angered by incidents such as this, where the line between the black and white area is so obvious, it's just that people are refusing to see it, so blinded by themselves, blinded by their extreme pride. my sincerest apologies to anyone provoked by this, it's assuredly unintentional.

The Hedonese said...

Hi Ronald,

Sorry, I got the wrong person...

Welcome to the Agora! Thanks for your insights...

I think we need to see how precious our civil liberty is, and how Christians need to be actively involved to engage culture (not when it's too late) but to prevent tyranny. :-)

It's a long journey, but someday Malaysian may yet raise perceptive social critics like Hugh Hewitt yet

Ronald said...

It's ok. Thanks for the writing and sharing. God bless you :)