Relentless targeting of churches in Indonesia (Aid to the Church In Need)

Christian churches in Indonesia are increasingly being targeted by Islamic and anti-Christian  elements. The following report is from Aid to the Church In Need. Please support this most worthy Catholic charity by your prayers, and, if you can, by making a donation. A.C.N supports many Catholic priests, Religious, Seminarians and laity in all areas of the world that,by just being Catholic, are suffering greatly.

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Prof. Dr.M. Din Syamsuddin & Mr. Theophilus Bela

Dozens of churches in Indonesia come under attack every year and the country’s president is failing to take action to stop it – according to a leading Catholic peace activist who has produced a report describing the scale of the problem. Since 2006, more than 200 attacks on churches have been recorded by the Indonesian Committee on Religion and Peace under Theophilus Bela, president of the Jakarta Christian community forum. In a report submitted to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which supports persecuted and other suffering Christians, Mr. Bela stated that in the first five months of this year, there were 14 attacks on churches and 46 in 2010 as a whole. Mr. Bela blamed Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his government for not doing enough to tackle Islamist anti-Christian violence. He said: “President Yudhoyono sleeps if there is an attack on Christian churches. If the president sleeps, so do the police.” Mr. Bela reported that since Mr. Yudhoyono became president in May 2004, there have been 286 attacks on churches, higher than at any time except during the country’s political uprisings in the late 1990s. Mr. Bela went on to warn of Islamist figures and sympathizers infiltrating Mr. Yudhoyono’s government, claiming that a recently appointed government inter-faith advisor is a known radical cleric. Referring to another government appointee, Mr. Bela said: “I have the impression that Mr. Yudhoyono is afraid of his own minister of religious affairs, who is from an Islamist political party.” “Mr. Yudhoyono gives the impression that he is rather hesitant to protect the Christians.” In his report, Mr. Bela states that although attacks on churches in 2011 are so far down on last year, Indonesia’s Christian community of 28.5 million remains the most persecuted religious group in the country. The report details how in Temanggung, Middle Java province, three churches came under attack in a single day –February 8th, 2011. One day later, Mr. Bela’s daughter, who lives in the Jakarta suburb of Bekasi, contacted him to report that extremist Muslims were descending on a nearby church and the police intervened after he called them to report the incident. Explaining the long-term rise in extremist attacks on Christians, Mr. Bela said that urban-based Muslims had reacted badly to Christians coming in from rural areas in search of jobs created by the government’s investment in city factories and other businesses. He said extremists were enraged by court proceedings against infamous Islamist Abu Bakar Bashir, who allegedly masterminded attacks on churches and whose conviction for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali bombings was overturned by the Supreme Court. Mr. Bela stressed that in spite of the attacks, Christians remained strong in their faith. He said, “We Christians are not afraid, because we are also citizens of this country like other groups of our society.” “The Christians go to their churches regularly and our churches are always full every Sunday.” Mr. Bela added: “Our country is based on a pluralistic ideology… and we do not have a state religion in our country.” “The Christians have staged protests against President Yudhoyono by holding religious services on two Sundays in front of his state palace recently.”

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8 Responses to Relentless targeting of churches in Indonesia (Aid to the Church In Need)

  1. David Martin says:

    Aid to the Church in Need, like MaryKnowel, are liberalist front organizations designed to sap money from the U.S. and give it to the KGB or the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Organization. They portray little kiddies with bloated tummies or cite persecution of Churches (which they instigate) just to gain the confidence of unsuspecting Catholics, so beware!

    DM

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  2. toadspittle says:

    .
    The idea of charities, of any stripe, funding the KGB is rather fanciful, Toad suggests.
    Outfits like the KGB and the CIA spend a good deal of money funding front organisations themselves.
    With taxpayers’ money.

    Like

  3. Gertrude says:

    Actually, Aid to the Church in Need does exactly ‘what is says on the tin’. Its aid is to – the Church in Need, and as such is a most worthy Catholic organisation that supports seminarians in countries where, through poverty, civil strife, and upheaval they are not able to support themselves. It supplies help with the building of churches where there either was none, or where for similar reasons the churches are destroyed. They are a life-line for numerous Priests, Religious and Catholic groups who because of their Catholicism are persecuted.

    It is a disgraceful comment to even suggest that their motives are in any way politically motivated, and I take exception to their good name being used thus.

    God Bless you anyway David Martin, and may you find peace.

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  4. kathleen says:

    David,
    Could you please tell us what evidence you have for your serious allegations of ACN?

    I have always supported them, for as Gertrude points out, it appears to be the most worthy of Catholic organisations. Its helpers are volunteers so that practically 100% of its donations go straight to our suffering brothers and sisters in countries of strife and persecution (against Christians) and where there is great need – as its name suggests.

    Fr Martin Edwards – a very traditional Catholic, and lover of the Tridentine Mass – is the chaplain of Aid to the Church in Need. (I know him well, and he happened to once again accompany the British chapter on the recent 70+ mile Chartres pilgrimage at Pentecost.) I cannot imagine he would belong to an organisation that was guilty of the deceitful crimes of which you accuse it.

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  5. toadspittle says:

    .
    Toad gets the impression that Mr. Martin is an American. A land ruled by fear and paranoia. Toad lived there 16 years. Never again.

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  6. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Mr Martin,

    If, as alleged, you are an American person, please note that the word “liberal” has an honourable pedigree across the Atlantic. I believe that “over there”, it is a term of abuse from Neo-Cons, Tea Partyists and the unusual Sarah Palin. and refers to those who have a progressive bone in their bodies. Many in Europe are pleased to be liberals. Please keep this in mind when using the term.

    If what you say is true (and I doubt it) about “sapping” the US taxpayer, then I do feel that your own institutions have done a remarkable job in this area. Unsurpassed, actually. I do believe that 50% of your taxes go on the miltary, who then unload materials on unsuspecting foreigners.

    I could be wrong.

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  7. kathleen says:

    I think it is unfair, and a bit naive, to blame Americans, or American Catholics, for the personal opinions of Mr. David Martin. When thirteen years ago I stayed with a friend at the Austrian campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville, I was amazed and delighted by the very many warm, kind, erudite Americans I met there. They had such a passion for their Catholic Faith, I wished I could see more of their ilk in the rest of Europe. I know for a fact they were also hugely generous to the underprivileged Catholics swarming in from the old communist countries with a great hunger to learn about their Faith, having been deprived of it for so long under the atheistic regimes.
    God Bless all those wonderful Americans.

    P.S. I meant to add that my friend had offered her services to Aid to the Church in Need, and had been given the job (unpaid) of teaching the classics to Eastern Europeans at this Austrian campus of Franciscan University.

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  8. toadspittle says:

    .
    Kathleen is right. There are indeed, a great many very good, kind, decent Americans. Including Toad’s wife.

    Like

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