09 February 2011

In Jakarta, violence against Christians

From Asia News, with my emphases and comments:
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Thousands of angry Muslims attacked three churches, a Christian orphanage and a health centre that is also a Christian. The violence took place this morning [Tuesday] at 10 am (local time) and only ended with the intervention of police in riot gear and police vans. One of the vans was set on fire by the crowd.

The revolt took place in Temanggung regency (Central Java), and started right in front of the town hall: first the crowd attacked the court where a trial against Richmond Bawengan Antonius, a Christian born in Manado (North Sulawesi) , accused of proselytizing and blasphemy was being held.

Bawengan was arrested in October 2010 because during a visit to Temanggung he had distributed printed missionary material, which, among other things, poked fun at some Islamic symbols. The profanity has cost him five years in prison, but the crowd were demanding the death sentence. The violence was sparked by their dissatisfaction with the verdict.

Instead of leaving the court, the crowd started pushing, shouting provocative slogans and then destroyed the building [how very peaceful and democratic]. Hundreds of police rushed in to intervene but failed to appease the thousands of Muslims who began to march en masse to "target Christians" on the main street of the city.

The Catholic Church of St Peter and Paul on Sudirman Boulevard was the first to be attacked, according to AsiaNews sources, the parish priest, Fr Saldhana, a missionary of the Holy Family, was violently beaten as he tried to protect the tabernacle and the Eucharist against the mob [may the Lord bless this priest for his devotion to the Eucharist].

The crowd then attacked a Pentecostal church. According to the pastor Darmanto - another Christian leader of Temanggung - the main goal was the Pentecostal church, which was then burned. The mob, however, still not appeased went on to destroy in a Catholic orphanage and a health centre of the Sisters of Providence.

Another Protestant church in Shekinah was burnt down.


  1. I just looked up Indonesia, which I don't associate with this kind of violence, and discovered that attacks on Christians jumped from 12 in 2009 to 75 in 2010, mostly in Java. That's definitely a worrisome trend.

  2. If you study the general trend, you'll find that attacks against Christians are rising around the globe.

  3. The reason why this should peak now and in Indonesia of all places is puzzling. A possibility completely without evidence is that with the economic crisis, guest workers have lost their jobs in the Gulf countriesand returned home having absorbed puritanical intolerance from Saudi Arabia. That particular bleed-through is well-known in Egypt.