Monday, August 16, 2010

Indonesian Christians sit in outside Presidential Palace, in protest against church closures and other Islamic persecution

Indonesian Christians pray during a protest against rising violence by Islamic hard-liners in Jakarta, Indonesia, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010

Why should western Muslims concern themselves about these things ~ in the west they getting the red carpet of tolerance ~ while in their home countries tolerance for others is thin on the ground. And there is clearly a logic behind it.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Thousands of people took part yesterday in Jakarta at a Protestant function at the National Monument (Monas), in front of the State Palace, residence of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. The Protestant Church of Batak (Hkbp) organized the function to protest the government's indifference in the face of constant persecution by Muslim extremists.

For years the community of Bekasi Hkbp has been targeted by Muslim radicals, that prevent Christians from celebrating their liturgical functions. A month ago, the situation worsened: the town council of Bekasi closed the rooms where Hkbp held their functions, but allowed them to celebrate outdoors. On 9 August, a mob of 800 Muslims disrupted a function, beating and wounding several people.

Indonesian Christians cover their mouths during a protest against attacks on churches in Jakarta on August 15, 2010
Yesterday thousands of people belonging to Hkbp, the Solidarity Forum of Interfaith Harmony (Fskub) and other groups, participated in the liturgical function in Monas Square to protest against the government and demonstrate in favour of religious freedom.

The protest, as announced by AsiaNews in recent days, was organized by Mrs. Luspida Simanjutak, pastor of the Hkbp community: "We have a moral obligation to protest - said the minister - in the most strategic place, that is before the State Palace. Our president must wake up and see what happens when the right to profess one’s faith is violated by the extremists, because of the lack of state attention”.

Indonesian Christian women shout slogans during a protest against attacks on churches in Jakarta on August 15, 2010. Hundreds of Indonesians held a prayer vigil in the capital Jakarta

Last week, President Yudhoyono asked Djoko Suyanto, minister for legal, political and security affairs, to deal with the Islamic extremists, especially the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) to end the persecution.

After the interest of the Indonesian president, even Mochtar Muhammad, Mayor of Bekasi, began to act. On 13 August, he met Hkbp Christians and other Islamic extremist organizations. He also offered a place for the Hkbp to hold their functions in Bekasi, but the Christians refused, considering it is only "words".

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