The attack was sparked by false accusations of promoting religious activities in a building without permission — and the rage over that stems ultimately from the Sharia prohibition on Christians building new churches.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A group of extremists belonging to the Islamic Defenders Front attacked and disrupted the Sunday services of the Tandemn Huria Kristen Batak Protestant ( Hkbp ) community in the city of Binjai, the Indonesian province of North Sumatra. Hundreds of faithful of the local Christian community had to abandon their church – official and recognized – and close traditional weekend services early because of the threats made by the fundamentalists. The faithful returned to their homes, escorted by police in riot gear.
Eyewitnesses reported that the assault yesterday morning against the Protestant Christian community was led by hundreds of FPI members, supported by some local Islamist groups. The assailants shouted loudly that the “church” is not legal, the authorities in the area, according to the extremists, have not take any decision on the legitimacy of any “activities of worship” in the building .
The Islamists attack comes in conjunction with the decision by local authorities, who must determine whether the place of Christian worship is or is not valid. The case is still pending and the surprise extremist attack could be aimed at putting pressure on judge.
Nasir Ahmad, FPI coordinator, said that the interruption of the Hkbp function had the “support” of the political authorities, as previously insured during a special meeting on 27 November 2013. During the meeting they discussed the issue with the leaders of Binjai. The Islamists claim that the “church” is not legal, because the case “is still pending in court” and has not received the approval of the local population. Zainnudin Purba, an MP for Binjai, points the finger at the local administration which has been unable to make a decision on the matter for more than five years.