Islamic Tolerance Alert: “The authorities in West Jakarta stop a parish priest from celebrating mass,” by Mathias Hariyadi for Asia News (thanks to Insubria):
Jakarta (AsiaNews) — Indonesian authorities have prevented the parish priest of Christ’s Peace Church in South Duri (West Jakarta) from celebrating mass. The Catholic parish church in which the function was supposed to take place is at the centre of controversy ever since a group of Muslims have challenged its legal status. As a result of strong pressures from Muslim extremists Tambura Sub-district officials banned all activities in the church to avoid “social tensions.”
The parish priest, Fr Matthew Widyalestari MSC, signed an agreement forcing him to cease all activities in the church but expressed a desire to celebrate a Sunday mass for his 4,000 parishioners who now find themselves unable to practice their faith.
On Friday after a meeting between local Catholic leaders and officials from the West Jakarta District and the Tambura Sub-district, local political authorities insisted on cancelling the Eucharistic function as well. The same reason or excuse was given, “public order,” and the fear of sectarian clashes as Father Widyalestari told AsiaNews.
“The faithful want their spiritual needs fulfilled; they feel like they are on a most wanted list, forced underground to find another place to practice their religion,” the priest said.