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Authorities appeal for calm after latest attack against churches in South Sulawesi
ICC Note: Two churches in the Jakarta capital area of Indonesia have spent the last year holding services in front of the nation’s presidential palace in a longsuffering attempt to draw attention to the persecution they face. The two churches, known as GKI Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia, were forced out of their buildings by mobs of angry Islamic protestors and have been blocked by the local government from using the property they own. ICC met with the pastor of the HKBP Filadelfia church last year and recorded his powerful testimony of holding services in the face of enraged Muslim mobs.
By Mathias Hariyadi
2/15/2013 Indonesia (AN) -Three Protestant churches were attacked with Molotov cocktails by unknown assailants. Although there was little damage, the incident has raised concerns that they are part of some political plan to heighten sectarian tensions in order to destabilise the country’s political institutions and thus undermine coexistence in the world’s most populous Muslim country.
The attack occurred in central Makassar at dawn yesterday, St Valentine’s Day, which is a controversial celebration in the Muslim nation. Riding their motorcycles, unidentified attackers three flammable devices at the different places of worship over the period of an hour.
The first church that was hit belongs to the GKI (Indonesian Christian Church), on Samiun Road (pictured). This was followed by an attack against the Toraja Church on AP Pettarani Road and finally a third Protestant church in Gatot. Local sources report that no one was hurt and the three buildings suffered only minor damages.
A police spokesperson in Jakarta said that the attack was connected to attempts by Muslim extremists to heighten sectarian sentiments and fuel religious conflict.

Things began changing last year when Muslim extremists three a homemade device against South Sulawesi Governor Sahrul Yasril Limpo. Earlier this year, two Muslim extremists were killed in a shootout with police at a local mosque. And this Monday, unidentified attackers firebombed the Toraja Mamassa Protestant church, causing minor damage.
Sulawesi Island and neighbouring Maluku Islands are not new to bloodshed. Between 1997 and 2001, violence broke out pitting Muslims against Christians. Thousands of people were affected. Homes, churches and mosques were destroyed. An estimated half a million people became homeless, including 25,000 in the city of Polo alone.
The violence came to a formal end on 20 December 2001, when Christian and Muslim leaders signed a truce in Malino, South Sulawesi, worked out by the government.
This however did not stop all acts of violence. Perhaps one of the worst was the beheading by Muslim extremists of three Christian schoolgirls in October 2005.

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