Indonesia routinely takes the path of least resistance with its homegrown Islamic supremacist thugs, and the path of least resistance is to offer them little to no resistance in response, even offering compromises. But those who persecute Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis, and others with near impunity will eventually turn on the state that has enabled them if they become sufficiently strong.
In the meantime, Bogor continues to be a major center for the persecution of Christians, and the permit system for building houses of worship continues to be the principal vehicle for finding excuses to abuse them.
Indonesia saw many similar cases of harassment and intimidation last Christmas, and this year threatens more of the same. “West Java: Islamic extremist groups threaten Catholics, Christmas celebrations at risk,” by Mathias Hariyadi for Asia News, December 23:
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Islamic fundamentalist groups in Parung, Bogor regency, West Java province, are threatening and “warning” the local Catholic community, victims of attacks in anticipation of the holiday season. At the risk of the celebration of Masses and religious services, especially with regard to the faithful of the parish of St. John the Baptist, long the center of a dispute between Christians and Muslims that revolves around the building construction permit.
They celebrated last year’s Christmas Mass in a parking lot.
A statement published by the “Parung Society of Muslim” emphasizes the “strong support” of the stance of the Govenor of Bogor regency, who opposes the plan to build a church for the faithful of the parish of St. John the Baptist. Again, the controversy revolves around the infamous IMB – the Izin mendirikan bangunan – essential for any contrustion in Indonesia and even more difficult to obtain when it comes to a place of Christian worship.
Speaking to AsiaNews Fr Benny Susetyo Pr, Executive Secretary of the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI), speaks of “unfriendly methods” of Islamic fundamentalists, who end up “undermining the spirit of Pancasila”, the guiding principles of the state that promote religious freedom, multiculturalism and unity in diversity. The priest also points the finger at local government officials, who have never wanted to find an agreement on the matter that concerns the place of worship.
There is also a Pancasila revisionist movement, however, based on the assertion that “The first principle of the Jakarta Charter, which was ultimately incorporated into the preamble of the constitution, was the ‘obligation for all followers to observe Shariah law.’ It was later changed to ‘Belief in the one and only God,’ by then-Vice President Mohammad Hatta.”
In recent days, members of the Muslim Parung demonstrated against what they call “illegal” construction of a church, which actually has had a permit for six years and is home to the functions of the local Catholic community of the village of Waru. Last year, fundamentalist groups have prevented the celebration of Christmas functions, the faithful have had to move elsewhere to avoid new attacks during the services.