ICC Note: Christian persecution is on the rise in Indonesia as the country sees growing radicalism. Many churches now have security guards as provided by the government to protect the congregants. Yet the rising threat has also caused fear among many Christians. Churches begin to reinforce the security of their buildings or move conferences to safer places.
08/09/2018 (Mission Network News) – In terms of persecution, Indonesia has been a little less hostile to non-Muslim faiths… at least until this year. FMI’s Bruce Allen says Christians in Indonesia have been experiencing increasing pressures from society.
Rise in Persecution
There has been an increase of radical Islam in Indonesia, particularly in specific cities. Some mosque leadership has also become increasingly more radicalized and militaristic too. This mindset is being passed down to Muslim worshipers.
“The attacks this year were the most severe against churches in Indonesia (which is the world’s most populous Muslim majority country) in nearly two decades. Even the government is recognizing the increased threat to Christians and saying we want to protect these citizens,” Allen explains.
The government is providing police and military forces as guards for security at some churches across Java. However, it can be as little as two guardsmen at a church because of the lack of manpower compared to the need. Allen says this policing or guarding has been going on since May.
Allen says FMI Indonesian partners share that these guards are not in uniform. Instead, they’re in everyday clothes to keep them from standing out in the crowd. While FMI’s church leadership appreciates the added security, the fact that these precautions are necessary has some congregation members uneasy about attending church.
“Even though physical protection is increasing, you may also be increasing that emotional factor in some of the parishioners going, ‘Do I want to go to church. Is it really dangerous for me to get there?’,” Allen explains.
“Fortunately, as I speak with the FMI partners, attendance has not dropped at our churches where we’ve supported the church planters, and ministry is going on.”
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