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Muslim Residents In Indonesia Caught On Video Violently Blocking Church From Holding Service

04/20/2012 Indonesia (The Jakarta Globe) – Conflict between members of a persecuted church in Bekasi and residents was captured on video and posted online on Thursday, showing the residents violently resisting attempts by the churchgoers to pray in their sealed-off house of worship.

The video, uploaded by Ferry Putra on Vimeo, began with members of the Filadelfia congregation of the Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) preparing to march toward the church, situated in Jejalen Jaya village in Tambun Utara, Bekasi, on Sunday.

They were set to hold Mass on the sidewalk in front of their sealed-off church, which by law they are allowed to use.

The residents, many of whom wore Muslim attributes, however, were quick to blockade them, urging the Filadelfia congregation to disperse.

The congregation insisted on advancing, and clashes were only narrowly averted when police and officials intervened.

The officials told the churchgoers to hold their mass at the local subdistrict office, but the latter refused, saying it was too far, about five kilometers from the sealed-off church.

They then held the Mass on the road, with scores of the residents trying to disrupt it by running a motorcycle through it and then playing loud music.

Tambun Utara subdistrict head Suharto and local police precinct head Comr. Andri Ananta were seen in the video trying to tell the churchgoers to bow to the residents’ demands.

“We’ll keep trying to [ensure your security], but look at the mob. What else can we do?” Andri said, responding to Rev. Palti Panjaitan’s statement that it was their right to hold mass in the church that sat on the land that the congregation had bought in 2007.

A man was then heard shouting, “Palti Panjaitan, you’re dead! If you try coming back!” as the congregation finished their mass and dispersed.

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