The intimidation campaign waged by Muslim groups against Indonesian Christians continues unabated, leading one Christian leader, Pastor Johan Bandi, to issue “an urgent call for solidarity for the persecuted churches in Indonesia,” per ASSIST News Service:
In recent months, Christians in Indonesia have faced a severe escalation of terrorism, intimidation and persecution.
“This escalation is part of the process to implement Islamic Sharia Law,” Pastor Bandi said.
He pointed out that some of the radical Islamic groups that are publicly known, such as the Defense of Islam (FPI) and the Alliance Against Apostasy (AGAP), have broken into churches in the middle of services, demanded the pastor stop preaching, ordered him and the congregation out of the church, and forced him to sign a statement that the building would no longer be used for church services. Many times they carried out their intimidation and terror with letters of authorization from the mayor and chief of police in their hands, and accompanied by government officials and police, who stood by doing nothing.
“This is not just a West Java problem,” Bandi said. “This is a national problem facing every church group throughout the country.”
Dr. Jeff Hammond of Jakarta-based Bless Indonesia Today, said three churches, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Pentecostal, were closed five weeks ago by the mayor, accompanied by members of AGAP
Then on Sunday, October 16, three more churches in East Bekasi (West Java, about 45 minutes drive from Jakarta) were closed.
On that same day about 150 people marched on a house church in South Sulawesi and forced it to close. The Jakarta Post reported that Muslims for at least six months had been objecting to its functioning without a permit.