Map reflects the 30 most recent Persecution Reports. Click HERE
for the Map Legend.
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
On Sunday Christians worshiping on the Indonesian island of North Sumatra were forced to abandon their worship service and cancel planned services after hundreds of radical Muslims, many belonging to the extremist Islamic Defenders Front, disrupted the service and began issuing threats. Police in riot gear were forced to step in and escort the Christians away from the church, though it is unclear of any of the radicals disrupting the service were arrested. Last year radicals managed to pressure local governments across Indonesia to shut down as many as 50 Christian churches using a highly controversial building permit law as justification. Although the closing of churches be local governments in Indonesia dropped considerably after the first few months of this year, radical groups continue to try to intimidate Christians into abandoning their property and relocating their churches.
Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
“Ms. Rusgiani’s sentencing is a perfect example of a justice system being used to hypocritically and blatantly discriminate against a member of a minority faith. Last year in other parts of Indonesia Islamic radicals shouted insults and hurled bags of urine, rocks, and dirt into crowds of Christians without any fear of arrest, yet Ms. Rusgiani’s single critical comment is enough to result in a 420 day prison sentence? The double standard being applied here is staggering. This sends a message to the world that Indonesia’s legal system is not about protecting religious plurality, as the government would claim, but defending the petty grievances of whichever faith happens to hold the majority, and therefore the most influence, in any given area. Religious intolerance has been growing at an alarming pace across Indonesia, and targeting minority Christians expressing their opinion is not the solution to curbing this growth.”
Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Converting to Christianity from a Muslim background is not easy. In some parts of the world, converting from Islam to Christianity is an offence that is punishable by death. In Indonesia, one of the world's largest Muslim countries, one MBB shares her testimony of coming to Christ from a Muslim background.
Friday, November 1st, 2013
Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation. While Christians and Muslims have generally coexisted peacefully, an Islamist insurgency in the North has subjected a great many of Nigeria's Christians to persecution. The Pew Research study referenced here indicates that Nigeria may hold the largest number of persecuted Christians on Earth.
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
For more than two months the Islamic Defenders Front, a radical Islamic political organization, has been attempting to force the city government of Jakarta to remove a recently elected woman, and Christian, from office. The group is claiming that a Christian in leadership over a highly Muslim area is offensive and has staged multiple protests. To his credit, the Jakarta governor, Joko Widodo, has stood behind the appointment and Indonesia's constitutional protection for religious freedom, refusing to remove the "ward chief" based on her religious beliefs.
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
In a unusual and highly encouraging show of support, the Jakarta city government in Indonesia has rallied to support a church in the Eastern part of the city facing possible protests by Islamic radicals. In the past, churches around Jakarta and other parts of Indonesia have faced severe pressure and sometimes violent protests after which the local government, caving to demands by radical groups, has sealed the church buildings shut. In 2012 ICC believes as many as 50 churches were forcibly shut down by local governments under pressure from radical Islamic groups. The number of closed churches in 2013 appears to have lessened considerably.
Saturday, October 19th, 2013
Muslim opposition to the appointment of a Christian official in local government has drawn attention to the shadow of hostility towards Christians that still hangs over parts of the Islamic nation.
Friday, October 18th, 2013
In yet another attempt to halt the construction of a Catholic church in the city of Bekasi, radical Muslims have sued the mayor of the city for granting the church permission to be built. Bekasi, located just West of the capital of Jakarta, is a hotbed for radical Islamic activity visited by ICC in 2012. Churches in the city have faced sometimes violent mobs of radicals demanding they be closed and that Christians halt attempts to worship outside of their sealed churches, using the pretext of a building permit law from 2006. This attempt to sue the mayor is simply a new avenue for radical groups to try to stop the growth of Christianity in Bekasi.
Friday, October 4th, 2013
Although conditions for Christians in Indonesia are mostly peaceful, some areas have become increasingly hostile towards the Christian minority in recent years. In the province of Aceh, and the city of Bekasi, both hotbeds for Islamic radicalism, churches have been forcibly shut down and Christians forced to relocate at the behest of angry mobs. President Obama is being urged to bring up religious tolerance with Indonesia in his upcoming visit to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit next week.
Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
International Christian Concern (ICC) has confirmed that two Indonesian Christians were sentenced to three years in prison on August 2nd for conducting evangelistic activities among Muslims. The Christians, known as Kashfi Rosyid and Jalaudin, are brothers and were arrested by police on March 20th in Sukabumi, West Java,after an angry mob of approximately 200 Muslims attacked their home.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
For several weeks Islamists in Jakarta, Indonesia have been protesting the appointment of a Christian woman, Susan Jasmine Zulkifli, over a predominantly Muslim area of the city. Jakarta's governor has defended Susan's appointment, pointing out correctly that the Indonesian constitution protects religious freedom and the right of anyone to hold office regardless of their religious beliefs. New comments by a member of the executive branch, Interior Minister Gamawan Fauzi, saying that Susan should be relocated to another district has plastered the debate on front pages of the Indonesian press. Despite officially supporting religious tolerance, dozens of churches across Indonesia were forcible sealed off by local governments last year under pressure from Islamic radical groups.
Monday, September 30th, 2013
In certain areas of Indonesia intolerance for Christian churches and their congregations remains high. One of those areas is Bekasi, just south of Indonesia's capital of Jakarta. Last year members of the HKBP Filadelfia church faced week after week of screaming mobs throwing everything from dirt to bags of urine at them as they attempted to hold services outside of their church building, which had been sealed by the local government under pressure from radical groups. One local Muslim leader who threw rocks at the congregation also threatened to kill Pastor Palti, the churches pastor. Even though the threat was caught on video and witnessed by many people, seven of whom testified against him, the attacker was given a suspended sentenced and never served any jail time.
Thursday, September 26th, 2013
On Wednesday hundreds of radical Islamic protesters carried a coffin and a yellow flag, denoting death, in anger over the appointment of a Christian official in local government in South Jakarta, Indonesia. The governor of Jakarta has refused to replace the appointee, Susan Zulkifi, since the Indonesian constitution technically protects religious minorities from discrimination. Nevertheless in some areas radical groups regularly protest the presence of Christian churches which are subsequently shut down by local authorities.
Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
While many Christians across Indonesia are able to live and practice their faith in peace, in some areas where radical Islamic groups are active they face discrimination and the forced closure of places of worship. Reports this year of forced church closures have decreased dramatically over previous years, but many churches that were sealed off by local authorities under pressure from radical groups have yet to reopen. Recently the official order to reopen a sealed Catholic church in the Western province of Banten on the island of Java has sparked renewed protests by radical Islamists.
Monday, September 9th, 2013
Four Christians and a pastor who were providing educational courses to assist the local community have been arrested and accused of proselytizing in the Aceh province of Indonesia. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, constitutionally provides for religious freedom for its citizens. Unfortunately, it is more and more frequently becoming a place where persecution and abuse takes place. In the Aceh province Islamic law is applied and this becomes the basis for arrests and discrimination of Christians.
Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013
Widely regarded as the leading example of a moderate Muslim democracy, Indonesia continues to struggle with the growth of radical Islamic ideology. Today AsiaNews reports that a new law passed in East Java will force civil servants to pray to Allah before starting work every day. Workers who fail to log in a register that they have prayed may face a penalty. The new law has brought about widespread criticism.
Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Although for most Christians living in Indonesia is not nearly as difficult as in other Muslim-majority nations, there are dozens of churches in some areas that face consistent discrimination at the hands of religious extremists. Two of those churches held services outside of the Indonesian presidential palace on Sunday to protest being forcibly kicked out of their church buildings after their local governments caved to pressure from Islamists. In 2012 ICC estimated that as many as 50 churches were shut down for lacking the correct permits, an excuse used by local governments that make it nearly impossible for churches to obtain permits. The two churches that protested on Sunday actually have building permits but have been barred from re-entering their buildings despite a Supreme Court ruling in their favor.
Sunday, September 1st, 2013
In an inspiring and uplifting report Charisma news relays the successful testimony of a recent Gospel outreach in Makassar, Indonesia. Despite multiple attempts to shut down the outreach and the threat of violence from hundreds of radical Muslims, the event took place and thousands accepted Christ. From 1998-2003 radical Jihadists led waves of attacks against Christian villages on the Moluccas and Sulawesi islands of Indonesia, leaving thousands dead and thousands more homeless.
Friday, August 30th, 2013
While largely perceived by the international community as a tolerant Muslim Democracy, Indonesia nevertheless struggles with issues related to religious freedom. In 2012 as many as 50 churches were forcibly shut down by local governments under pressure from radical Islamists. Recently the appointment of a Christian woman over a largely Muslim community has sparked petitions and demonstrations. While the government has defended the appointment and called protests discriminatory, the anger and controversy caused reveal just how conservative many Indonesian Muslims remain.
Monday, August 26th, 2013
Pastor Palti Panjaitan has led his congregation, based in the city of Bekasi on the outskirts of the Indonesian capital, for several years through incredible persecution. The church members were driven out of their building by the local government and have faced mobs of enraged Islamic radicals for years, sometimes being pelted with rotten eggs, bags of urine, and animal feces as they attempt to worship outside their closed church. Pastor Palti was accused by one radical of assault, though Pastor Palti maintains that he was only holding onto his attacker to protect himself and his family. The very same attacker threatened to slit Pastor Palti's throat and was charged with making death threats, but the charges have been dropped.
Friday, August 23rd, 2013
Moderate Muslims and the Deputy Governor of Jakarta have come out to defend the election of Susan Zulkifli, a Christian woman, to the post of "ward chief." Her election was contested by a petition of more than 2,000 citizens who declared they did not want a Christian woman in office over a pre-dominantly Muslim area. The controversy sparked by the objection indicates just how divided along religious lines many Indonesians remain, despite the countries reputation as a moderate Muslim nation. From 1998-2003 waves of radical Islamist attacks on Christian villages on the Molluccas Islands and Sulawesi left thousands dead and many thousands more, mostly Christians, homeless.
Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
In a recent sting operation Indonesian security forces arrested four alleged terrorists who are believed to have been a part of the bombing of a Christian church in September of 2011. The bombing, a suicide attack, left only the attacker dead but nearly two dozen church goers wounded. The attack also revived deeply rooted fears that radical Islamic groups might once again launch the kind of offensives that left more than 10,000 Christians homeless and hundreds dead on the Sulawesi and Moluccas Islands of Indonesia during the turn of the century.
Monday, August 19th, 2013
The president of the world's most populous Muslim country has recently expressed concern over the growing religious intolerance that has spread across Indonesia. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, violent incidents of persecution against Indonesia's religious minorities, including Christians, has been on the rise since 2012. Indonesia's president has said he was concerned and will take steps to insure the religious freedom of all people living in Indonesia.
Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
In this highly unusual story the Christian Post reports that a small family was found at sea after months adrift while attempting to flee the "state controlled church" in the United States. The family, from Arizona, was attempting to reach a small Pacific island nation and sailed away from the U.S. as an "act of faith." While fears of government interference in church activities and a rising effort to push all displays of faith out of public view have left many Christians concerned for the future of religious freedom in the U.S., the families reaction seems highly out of proportion given the current level of religious freedom experienced by American citizens. This is especially true when one considers that few if any other nations around the world offer a more tolerant environment for religious adherents.
Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
Early Tuesday morning one or two assailants on motorcycles hurled "Molotov cocktails" or home made bombs over the walls of a private Catholic school in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta. Only one bomb exploded and no injuries or damage were reported. Nevertheless the Archbishop of Jakarta, Ignatius Suharyo, has called on the Catholic community in Indonesia to be vigilant of possible further attacks. At least one news source attributes the attack to celebrations accompanying the end of Ramadan. On Sunday a Buddhist temple in Indonesia was also bombed.
Monday, August 5th, 2013
Christians in Indonesia are gathering together to pray like never before. Despite only making up a small portion of Indonesia's 242 million people, reports from a 24/7 prayer project indicate that Christians from a wide variety of backgrounds, including Protestants and Catholics, are fervently participating in prayer for the world's largest Muslim majority nation. While most Christians are able to practice their faith freely, last year saw an alarming number of churches forcibly closed by local governments after radical Islamic groups protested outside of the churches. If anything though it appears that persecution has brought out an even more determined and resolute church body.
Sunday, August 4th, 2013
Two wanted Islamic terrorists killed in a police raid last month in Indonesia have been determined to be responsible for two church bombings on the island of Central Java. No Christians were killed in the bombings, but dozens were injured. The raid is an indication that the government of Indonesia is still pursuing radical terrorist groups, even though known Islamic fundamentalists are still operating on the island of Sulawesi. From 1998 to 2003 waves of radical attacks left thousands of Christians dead throughout the Mollucas and Sulawesi islands and thousands more homeless.
Saturday, July 27th, 2013
Islamic extremism continues to have tragic – and often deadly – results around the world. This report highlights a number of events across the globe from recent months where Christians were targeted for abuse and violence as a result of their faith.
Saturday, July 27th, 2013
An Indonesian Muslim may face 3 months behind bars for threatening to slit the throat of a Christian pastor last Easter. The defendant, Abdul Aziz Bin Naimun, admitted to issuing the threat but says he didn't know it was illegal. The pastor who was threatened, Palti Panjaitan, was interviewed by ICC last year thanks to his leadership of one of Indonesia's most heavily persecuted churches. His church, HKBP Filadelfia, was forced out of their building by radical Islamists despite having a legal permit to operate. The members attempted numerous times to meet outside the building only to be attacked by radical mobs of angry protesters.