2/8/2023 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – According to media outlet Morning Star News, a Christian apologist, Gratia Pello, has not been seen since his arrest in early December.
On December 6, 2022, police came to Pello’s home and arrested him. Pello, a professor at a small Christian theological school in East Java, regularly published videos and blog posts that compared Christianity to Islam. His content was widely disseminated online.
Pello is reportedly a Coptic Orthodox Christian known for debates with Muslim converts from Christianity.
Before arresting him on December 6, four officers questioned Pello in his home about the content of episode 248 of his YouTube channel, which officers said offended Muslims and Islam. Officers then left his home, only to return later with a group of twenty–nine officers who stormed and ransacked the house, subsequently arresting the apologist upon his return home at 11 pm.
A Christian leader from Central Java released an anonymous statement about Pello’s arrest. They told Morning Star News, “The police always put the arrest of Christians on their priority list, but they are silent when it comes to the many fake clergymen and ustadz [Muslim “teacher” in Arabic] who insult Christian holy books even if the case has been reported.”
They continued, “There is injustice in terms of law, and particularly in the matters of religion. The police are afraid of radicals.”
The Indonesian constitution and rhetoric of Indonesian officials emphasize the importance of religious freedom. However, many Christians and other religious minorities in the Muslim-majority country often face persecution from the government and other citizens because of their faith. Indonesia was listed as the 33rd most difficult country to be a Christian on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List.
Please pray for the family of Gratia Pello, for his release from prison, and for other religious minorities who are suffering in Indonesia.
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