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International Christian Concern

2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #941

Washington DC 20006-1846 / Email: [email protected]

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jeff King – (800).422.5441

3 Christian Indonesian Housewives Face 5 Years In Prison

for Conducting Sunday School Classes In Indonesia (UPDATE)

Christians respond with understanding and hope that a new generation will not be as disgraceful.

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference ICC (International Christian Concern) and include our web address

(July 12, 2005) – Court proceedings involving three Christian women arrested under “Child Protection” laws, for leading Sunday school classes for their local church continued on Thursday July 7th. Once again, a mob of radical Islamists arrived by the truckload at the court where the proceedings continued. The mob gathered just outside the courthouse; and as the three women arrived for their trial, police forces had to hold back the assembled mob from attacking the women, as they shouted “Allahu akbar! (God is great!) Dr. Rebekah is evil, hang them…Shoot her!”

It remains unclear who organized the mob, but experts believe former Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a disbanded radical Islamist group, were behind the demonstrations. Whoever was behind the protests, they were obviously designed to strike fear into judicial authorities as well as the Christian population.

As the trial began, the mob again took over the seats in courtroom and reacted vigorously to everything said in the proceedings, especially when the leader of the investigative team of the Indonesian Council of Islamic Preachers shouted toward the women, “Stop the terror you are committing!” The mob responded by shouting back the traditional Islamic phrase for slaughtering animals, “Allahu-Akbar”, and “shoot them!”

Several children were called to the witness stand to testify along with their parents, but all of the children were too frightened by the mob, and had to be taken outside to recover from their fright. When their testimony resumed, the children denied being given money to convert to Christianity. It was also made clear that each Muslim child who attended the Sunday school classes had their parents’ permission, and when the three Christian women took the children on field trips, the children were accompanied by their Muslim parents.

These court proceedings were a result of a reactionary law that targeted religious minorities in the once tolerant nation of Indonesia . The law providing protection for the children clearly states,

“Any person who purposely uses deception, lies or enticement to make a child choose another religion not of his own free will . . . be prosecuted by imprisonment for five years and/or a fine of Rp.100.000.000 (one hundred million Rupiah).” (Criminal Law Section 53, Clause (1), section 86 Law No. 23, 2002 Concerning the Protection of Children, §55)

In this case, the parents were not the ones to bring the charges; rather it was the strict Muslim principal of the local elementary school, Ali Nurdin. Nurdin brought the charges after he heard his students singing upbeat Christian songs while walking down the hallways of school.

In Indonesian state-run schools, all students are taught solely about Islam. Christian parents involved in the case of the three women responded to the point of Islamic courses being forced on their children in the public schools by saying “We are tired of all the religious intolerance that exists. If our children better understand their (Muslim) faith and if they better understand ours (Christianity), then maybe the next generation will not be as intolerant as ours.”

In all of the accounts so far, there are no indications that the women running “Happy Week” (the Sunday school classes) coerced any child to do anything. The court proceedings, unfortunately, have all the marks of being staged and are a shameful mark on the world’s largest Muslim nation.

ICC requests that all concerned individuals who think the world has seen enough destruction and hatred due to religious intolerance to contact their Indonesian embassy to urge the Indonesian government to intervene in this court case so that it will not become a precedent for further persecution and oppression of religious minorities.

To see the preceding press release on the same subject, go to /suffering/pressdetail.php?presscode=102

Indonesian Embassy US

2020 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

Washington , D.C. 20036, USA

Tel. – 202 – 775 – 5200;

Fax. 202 – 775 – 5365

Indonesian Embassy UK

38 Grosvenor Square

London W1K 2HW

Tel. (020) 7499 7661

Fax. (020) 7491 4993

Indonesian Embassy Canada

Post Mail: 55 Parkdale Avenue

Ottawa , Ontario K1Y 1E5, Canada

Phone: (613) 724-1100

Fax: (613) 724-1105

Indonesian Embassy Germany

Lehrter Str. 16-17 10557

Berlin , Germany

Tel: 49-30-4780- 70

Fax: 49-30-4473- 7142

Indonesian Embassy Switzerland

Indonesia Embassy Elfenauweg 51,

Bern 3006

Tel. (031) 352.0983, 352.0984

Fax. (031) 351.6765

Indonesian Embassy (South Africa-Pretoria)

P.O. Box 13155 Hatfield 0028

t: 012.342.3350/1/2

f: 012.342.3369

e-mail: [email protected]

ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441. To be removed from this press release list, hit reply and put “remove from PR list” in the subject line.