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ICC Note: Follow up on the recent attack on a Church in West Java, Indonesia

6/5/07 Indonesia (AKI/Jakarta Post) – After yet another attack against a Christian church in Indonesia this week in Bandung , West Java, UK human rights movement Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW) research showing West Java is the launching pad for Indonesia ‘s anti-Christian movement has once again been confirmed. In light of the growing number of attacks on Christian churches in West Java, CSW recently warned Indonesia that international concern was on the rise.
In the most recent attack, dozens of unidentified people Sunday broke into Sidang Jemaat Allah church at Gading Tutuka complex in Soreang, Bandung forcing church-goers, including 15 children, to stop their religious activities, which they have conducted weekly since 2000.
The attackers allegedly forced their way into the church at 9.30am Sunday, hit the Reverend’s wife over the head with a bible and forced the children’s Sunday School activity to stop.
Church-goer Lidia said the attackers claimed they were from the Anti-apostate Movement Alliance (AGAP).
Sunday’s incident shows the suppression of religious freedom in this predominantly Muslim nation continues in West Java , where dozens of churches and places of worship have been forcibly closed by Muslim extremists over the past few months.
The number of churches forcibly closed in West Java alone since September 2004 is reported to be more than 30.
Dozens of other churches have been also forced to close in other provinces.
Under the revised joint decree issued by Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni, the establishment of a house of worship must gain the approval of at least 60 local residents and have a minimum of 90 followers.
Shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great), the attackers forced their way into the church and destroyed at least four glass pictures of Jesus Christ…
Ani, another church-goer, said the Sunday attack was the second to have taken place at the church where the attackers demanded the church be closed.
Last time the attackers said the church was not equipped with the necessary licenses, Ani said.
Church-goers however received permission from local neighborhood communities more than seven years ago to hold their religious activities, she said…
Muhammad Mukmin, head of AGAP, denied his group was behind the attack….

(Full story)