Indonesia: Muslim Mob Burns Pastor’s Home, 2 Churches
Washington, D.C. (February 2, 2010)–International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that a Muslim mob set fire to a pastor’s house and two Christian churches in North Sumatra, Indonesia, last Friday.
The arson followed a disagreement between Muslims and Christians over the location of buildings Christians would meet in for worship. The buildings were in the center of a predominantly Muslim community and were not registered as churches. When worship continued unabated, a mob took matters into its own hands.
According to The Jakarta Post, on Friday, January 29, a crowd of about 1000 Muslims surrounded the HKBP and GPdI church buildings and lit them on fire, also torching the pastor’s house nearby.
On Sunday, a police spokesman said that there were no fatalities, and added that hundreds of Christians have left the community as a result. He said that the local government would assist Christians in the rebuilding of the churches. To date, none of the attackers involved have been arrested.
Pastor Marolop Sinaga told The Jakarta Post that over 270 of his congregation have fled out of fear of further attacks.
The area has historically been known for peaceful religious coexistence between Christians and Muslims. This marks the first attack of its kind in the history of North Sumatra.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, Logan Maurer, said, “These attacks are especially significant because they show the spread of violence in areas that were previously peaceful. Indonesia as a whole has been showing some disturbing anti-Christian signs lately, and this is disturbing confirmation of that trend.”