Muslim attacks on Indonesian Christian Churches in 2010

Theophilus Bela
Secretary General of Indonesian Committee on Religion and Peace
(IComRP) President of Jakarta Christian Communication Forum (FKKJ)

Herewith is the list of attacks on Christian Churches in Indonesia of last year :

1. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church or Batak Protestant Christian Church in Pesanggrahan, Depok, West Java Province In March 2009 the Lord Mayor of Depok of the Islamist “Justice and Prosperous” party revoked the building licence of the church. The church authority brought the case to the State Administrative Court in the provincial capital city of West Java, Bandung and the church had won the case but the Lord Mayor made an appeal. But again the church won the case and started with building activities. We learnt that the police had to protect the building activities of the church due protest from radical Muslims in the neighbourhood.

2. “Gereja Katolik Stasi Santa Maria” or Saint Mary Catholic parish church in Purwakarta in the province of West Java. The church was told by the local authority to stop the building of the church in October 2009 because the local authority was afraid of the local radical Muslim groups. The local bishop of Bandung had set up a lawyers team who brought the case to the State Administrative Court in the provincial capital city of Bandung and the church had won the case. Until this report is made the church is still waiting the green light of the court to start with the building works.

3. “Gereja Katolik Santo Johanes Baptista” Church or Catholic Parish church of Saint John Baptist in Parung, Bogor in the province of West Java. The parish was prohibited to celebrate Easter in 2008. During Christmas 2009 the parishioners were forced to celebrate Christmas in a nearby government building and not in their own premise The church was disturbed during the Easter season 2010 and the church was not allowed to celebrate the holy mass on Accession Day of Christ on May 13th, 2010 on their premise.During last Christmas season the church had celebrated the holy mass in a nearby Catholic school because the parishioners were not allowed to do it on their own premise The parish has more than 3,000 betherns.It is already long time ago that the church made application to get a building licence to build their own church. In 2005 the local authorities had refused to issue a building permit for the church. There is a radical cleric from the local Muslim Ulama Council who is always against the church.

4. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church or Batak Christian Protetstant Church “Filadelfia” in Tambun, Bekasi, West Java Province The church was disturebed by radical Muslims on the very day of Christmas on December 25th, 2009. Later the local authorities have closed down the church and the Christians have to celebrate their Sunday services on the street in front of their closed premise. The church brought their case to the State Administrative Court and the church had won the case. But the local authorities made an appeal. On Saturady, September 25th, 2010 the church was visited by a high official of German Protestant Church from Hannover, Germany. During last Christmas season of 2010 the church made the celebration under temporary tents due to rainy season in front of their closed premise.

5. “Gereja Kristen Baptist Jakarta” Church or Baptist Christian Church of Jakarta in Tangerang with its young pastor Rev. Bedali Hulu It is already for years the church gets troubles from local authorities and from the radical Muslims in their neighbourhood. The church was not allowed to do the Sunday service in their house of worship. The pastor got a threat on his life last year and I had to ask the police for help. The church could only celebrate the last Christmas under heavy police protection.

6. “Gereja Kristen Pasundan” Church or Pasundan Christian Church in Ciranjang, Cianjur, West Java Province had difficulties in obtaining its building permit.

7. “Gereja Kristen Indonesia” Church or Indonesian Christian Church in Ciranjang, Cianjur, West Java Province had difficulties in obtaining its bulding permit.

8. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church in Pondok Timur, Bekasi, West Java Province was threatened by local authorities to be closed down on January 5th, 2010. In July the authorities have sealed the church so that the congregation had to do the Sunday service on a piece of empty land owned by the church in the nearby Ciketing, Bekasi But almost every Sunday the congragation was attacked by radical Muslims from the neighbourhood. The most dramatic attack was on Sunday, September 12th, 2010 in the morning when the congregation members were on their way to the empty land in Ciketing for Sunday service. The attackers came on motor cicles and stabbed an elder of the congregation on his stomach and wounded his heart 3cm. The elder name is Mr. Sihombing, 50 year old. The lady Pastor of the congregationRev. Luspida Simanjuntak was beaten on her head and back. The tragic attack happened during the Muslim Idl Fitri Festivities after the end of tha fasting month of Ramadhan.Actually it was the time of peace and joy for the Indonesian society but anyhow the tragic attack on the Christian congregation had happened.The government took quick action to cath the attackers. The International Community’s made also strong reactions against the attack. In the joint statement between Indonesian Foreign Minister and the US Secretary of State in September 2010 the Americans put their concerns about the attack on the Christian Church in Bekasi. Since the end of September 2010 the congregation celebrates the Sunday servie in a government building uder police protection, which could only accomodate 100 people. The church has a congregation of 300 people. During a meeting with government officials early November 2010 I was told that the land promised by the Lord Mayor of Bekasi for the church was still uncertain. I have told the matter to the pastor and the lawyer of the church. End of September last year the church was visited by a high official of the German Protestant Church from Hannover, Germany. Now 13 attackers of the church are being put on trial in the court in Bekasi.

9. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church or Batak Protestant Christian Church in Sibuhun, Tapanuli Selatan, North Sumatera Province was burnt down by fanatic Muslims on January 22nd, 2010 after their Friday prayer in a nearby mosque. The house of the pastor was also burnt down.

10. “Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia” Church or Pantecostal church in Indonesia in Sibuhun, Tapanuli Selatan, North Sumatera Province was burnt down by fanatic Muslims on the same day like the church of number 9.

11. “Gereja City Blessing” Church or City Blessing Church in Karawaci, Tangerang, Banten got a threat from a radical Muslim mob on January 10th, 2010.

12. “Gereja Kristen Sumatera Bagian Selatan” Church or South Sumatera Christian church in Lampung, South Sumatera was stoned by strangers on January 5th, 2010

13. “Gereja Bethel Indonesia” Church or Indonesian Bethel Church or Church of God in Indonesia “Kairos” in Duren Sawit, East Jakarta was attacked by a radical Muslim mob of 200 people on Sunday, February 14th, 2010.

14. “Gereja Protestan Indonesia Barat” Church or Western Indonesia Protestant Church with the name “Galilea” in Taman Galaxi, Bekasi, West Java Province was attacked by radical Muslim organizations on February 15th, 2010.The mob also closed down the church and put their flags on top of the structure of the church building. Now the building works of the church have been resumed and the Sunday service is held regularly again in the church.

15. “Kapela Katolik Stasi Capar” or Catholic chapel in Capar, Cirebon, West Java Province was threatened by a group of radical Muslim group called “Muslim Reform Movement” on February 18th, 2010

16. “Gereja Kristen Indonesia” Church or Indonesian Christian Church in Taman Yasmin, Bogor, West Java Province was attacked by radical Muslim organizations on March 18th, 2010. Later on the church was also closed down by the Lord Mayor of Bogor although the church has already got the building permit. Now the church has to celebrate the Sunday service on the street in front of its closed premise. The last Christmas celebration was attacked by radical mob but the police was also there to protect the church.

17. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church or Batak Christian Protestant Church in Karawang, West Java Provice was closed down by the police on January 24th, 2010 due to protests by radical Muslim mob. But with the help of the local Lord Mayor the church could be reopened again on March 3rd, 2010.

18. “Gereja Katolik Stasi Santa Maria Immaculata” Church or Catholic Parish Church of Saint Mary Immaculate in Kali Deras, West Jakarta was in building process. The church has got already the building licence. But a radical Muslim cleric had closed the access road to the job site of the church on March 12th, 2010. The police did nothing against it. Until now the building activities have not been resumed yet.

19. “Wisma BPK Penabur” or the education center of the Christian Education Body “Penabur” or the “Seeders” in Cibeureum, Cisarua, Bogor, West Java Province was burnt down by radical Muslims on April 27th, 2010 at 19.00 h 2 cars and 7 houses for the workers were also burnt down.

20. “Sekolah Katolik Santo Bellarminus” Catholic School Saint Bellarminus at Jatibening, Bekasi, West Java Province was attacked by radical Muslim mob on Wednesday, May 7th, 2010. The windows of the school were broken down. The police had avoided another attack on Thursday, May 8th, 2010.

21. “Gereja Kristen Jawa” Church or Java Christian Church in Sukorejo, Kendal, Middle Java Province was put on fire at night before Easter, April 4th, 2010. But the pastor told me that the neighbours have helped to put down the fire and only the front part of his church was hit by the fire. On the following Sundays the pastor can use again his church for Sunday service as usual.

22. A place of Cahtolic pilgrimage to adore Holy Mary in Desa Jati Mulya, Rangkas Bitung, Lebak, Banten (West Java) was closed by local authorities because of protest by local Muslims. In April 2010 a team of the church met the local authorities to ask them to open again the place of the pilgrimage.

23. A Pantecostal church in Jalan Raya Naragong, Desa Limus Nunggal, Bogor, West Java Province was conpletely destroyed by the local authorities on Monday, July 19th, 2010.

24. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church or Batak Protestant Church in Binanga, Sipirok, Desa Siboris, Kecamatan Barumun Tengah, Padang Lawas, North Sumatera Province was forced by local authorities to stop its activities on July 30th, 2010.

25. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church or Batak Protestant Church in Desa Gajah Sakti, Kecamatan Bandar Pulau, Asahan, North Sumatera Province was attacked by radical Muslims on August 20th, 2010 in the evening.

26. The Catholic retreat center “Wisma Semadi Klender” in the Eastern District of the capital city of Jakarta got a special message from the local authorities in July 2010 that there should be no holy mass again on Sunday. The pastor of the center was also told that there were some radical Muslim organizations behind the protest.I have asked the help of the police and the problem was solved. The holy mass on Sunday can be held again as usual. The center was built by the Archdiocese of Jakarta in the late 1960-es and every Sunday there is a holy mass for the Catholics in the neighbourhood.

27. The Catholic parish church “Alleluya” in Tanah Grogot, Kabupaten Pasir, East Kalimantan province in the Archdiocese of Samarinda was attacked by unknown people on September 11th, 2010 in the evening. Some windows of the church were broken down. The police was running after the attackers.

28. The building of the house for the pastor of the Catholic parish Saint Mary the Immaculate Heart in Cicurug, Sukabumi, West Java province was protested by radical Muslims in the neighbourhood. After a meeting with local authorities and the local Ulama council the pastor had to sign a letter declaring that the house will be used only as a residential house for himself and not as a house of worship.The parish church itlself had been built in 1951 and was consecrated by the Papal Nuncio at that time.

29. The Catholic chapel of Saint Joseph in Pare at the parish of Delanggu in Middle Java province was put on fire on Tuesday, October 12th, 2010. The attackers had made their action in a hurry, that is why only the front and the back doors of the chapel were partly burnt. The church authority found in the chapel gasoline and used tired in burning condition left by the attackers. The chapel is located a little bit far from residential area.

30. “Gereja Kristen Jawa” or Java Christian Church in Gembyog in the village of Ngemplak, Kartasura, Sukoharjo near Solo in Middle Java province was attacked by 12 people riding on 6 motor cycles on Wednesday, October 13th, 2010 early in the morning. The attackers put the fire on the church in a hurry because there were many people of the neighbourhood were also there. It was only the windows of the church were burnt. The pastor of the church had made a report to the police.

31. “Huria Kristen Indonesia” Church or Christian Church of Indonesia in Lubuk Linggau, South Sumatera Province was closed down by local authorities on October 18th, 2010 according to an official report from the National Communion of Churches in Indonesia.

32. Pantecostal church “Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia (GKMI) Karunia Bekasi” branch Cikarang of Rev. Pastor Titus Taya was threatened by radical Muslims on November 6th, 2010. I asked the protection from the police and the Sunday service of the church run smoothly.

33. During the Sunday service of Rehobot Berea Church “Glorious King” in Jalan Soekarno-Hatta, RW 06, Kelurahan Karasak, Kecamatan Astananyar, Kota Bandung, West Java Province a demonstration was staged by 50 radical Muslims from Communication Forum of Muslim Residents of Karasak, Muslim Congregation Front and Reformist Muslim Movement urging the closure of the church.It happened on Sunday, November 7th, 2010. But the police was on site to protect the congregation and the Sunday service was brought to the end peacefully.

34. Pantecostal church “Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia Villa Mutiara Jaya” in Cibitung, Bekasi, West Java Province. At the time I was making my check in at the International Airport of Jakarta for the flight to New York on Sunday, November 28th, 2010 the pastor of the church, Rev. Donald Maringka informed me that his church would be attacked by radical Muslims on the next Sunday, December 5th, 2010 From Washington DC I asked the police on December 2nd to protect the church during their next Sunday service. After my arrival in Jakarta on December 13th the pastor told me that their Sunday service was savebecause of the protection from the police.On the New Year Day, January 1st, 2011 Rev. Maringka told me again that his church was threatened on the next Sunday morning service on January 2nd, 2011. I asked again the help of the police and the attack on the church was avoided. With 9 other religious leaders from Indonesia I traveled to New York City and Washington DC from November 28th till December 3rd, 2010. On my way back home I visited Germany and the Netherlands until December 12th, 2010.

35. “Huria Kristen Batak Protestan” Church or Batak Protestant Church “Betania” in Rancaekek, Bandung, West Java Province was closed down by local authorities on Sunday, December 12th, 2010.

36. “Gereja Kemah Injili Indonesia Jemaat Filadelfia” Church or The Church of Evangelical Tent, the congregation of Philadelfia in Rancaekek, Bandung, West Java Provice was closed down by local authorities on Sunday, December 12th, 2010 like the church of number 35.

37. “Gereja Kristen Indonesia” Church or Indonesian Christian Church in Rancaekek, Bandung, West Java Province was closed down by local authorities on Sunday, December 12th, 2010 like the church of number 35.

38. “Gereja Pantekosta Jemaat Immanuel” Church or Pantecostal Church of Immanuel congregation in Rancaekek, Bandung, West Java Province was closed down by local authorities on Sunday, December 12th, 2010 like the church of number 35.

39. “Gereja Pantekosta Tabernakel Jemaat Maranatha” Church or Pantecostal Church Tebernacle of Maranatha congregation in Rancaekek, Bandung,West Java Province was closed down by local authorities on Sunday, December 12th, 2010 like the church of number 35.

40. “Gereja Pantekosta di Indonesia” Church or Pantecostal Church in Indonesia in Rancaekek, Bandung, West Java Province was closed down by local authorities on Sunday, December 12th, 2010.

41. “Gereja Katolik Stasi Rancaekek” or the Catholic chapel of Rancaekek of the Catholic parish of Saint Odilia in Cicadas, Bandung, West Java Province was closed down by local authorities on Sunday, December 12th, 2010 like the church of number 35.

42. “Gereja Kristen Muria Indonesia (GMKI)” Church or Muria Christian Church of Indonesia in Serengan, Solo, Middle Java Province was shot with a gun by unknown people on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 in the evening. There was no casuality. The church is already 25 year old and is located at Jalan Kedempel 14, Dawung Wetan, Serengan, Solo.

43. The Catholic chapel of Christ The King in Desa Blimbing, Gatak, Sukoharjo, Solo, Middle Java Province was hit by a homemade bomb on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 early in the morning at 5.45 am. The bomb exploded but there was no casuality reported.

44. The Catholic hospital “Brayat Minula” in Banjarsari, Surakata, Solo, Middle Java province was stoned by an unidentified person on December 8th, 2010 at 8 h am. The window of the hospital on the second floor was broken. It was scheduled that on the same day at 10 h am H.E. Cardinal Darmoatmojo and the Lord Mayor of Solo would inaugurate a new building of the hospital. For that purpose the police had checked the security of the hosptal at 7 h am The hospital itself is already 25 year old.

45. There was a homemade bomb found at the pilgrimage place to honor the Holy Mary in Prambanan, Klaten, Middle Java Province at the end of November 2010. During the weeks before Christmas there were some terror actions in the area of Solo in the province of Middle Java. A homemade bomb was also found near the police station at Pasar Kliwon district near to the North side of the Surakarta royal palace on December 7th, 2010.

46. “Gereja Kristen Setia Indonesia (GKSI)” Church or Setia Christian Church of Indonesia in the village of Bonepute, Kecamatan Larompong, Kabupaten Luwu, South Sulawesi Province was closed dowen by local authorities at the end of December 2010. The pastor of the church is Rev. Narsing These are the churches noted by us in the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum. There must be more churches attacked last year in our country. But due to lack of data we cannot put them on our list too.There were reports about more churches attacked in Middle Java and we got also reports about churches attacked in Papua, in East Java and in Tembilahan, Riau province.

We hope in our next report we will give you more informations about it. I mentioned above about our visit to USA. From November 29th till December 3rd I joined a delegation of Indonesian religious leaders to the US-Indonesia Interreligious Cooperation Forum in New York City and Washington DC. We met US religious leaders from different faiths and also government officials in White House, National Security Council, State Department and the UN. Our meetings were very fruitful. I took the opportunity to discuss with my American friends about the situation of Christians in Indonesia.

About the attacks on religious communities I just read an article in our English newspaper The Jakarta Globe titled “UN Condemns Religious Attacks, Including in Indonesia”. Attacks on religious minorities in places like Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia should serve as a wake-up call to authorities everywhere to combat rising fanaticism, the top UN human rights official said on Friday, January 7th, 2011.All countries have a moral and legal duty to protect the freedom of religion by quashing sectarian violence and rooting out discriminatory laws that can lead to flull-fledged conflict, said Navy Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights….. For further details please open the website www.thejakartaglobe.com

As I have informed you ealier that if you want to update yourselves on the situation of the Christians in Indonesia please open the website of our two English newspapers. One I have mentioned above and the other is The Jakarta Post www.thejakartapost.com.

Thank you very much for your kind attention and may I wish you and your beloved ones a new year 2011 with full of happiness.

Warmest greetings from Indonesia.

Theophilus Bela
Secretary General of Indonesian Committee on Religion and Peace
(IComRP) President of Jakarta Christian Communication Forum (FKKJ)

Ambassador For Peace