Indonesia Muslim Militants Attack House Church, report

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center with reporting by BosNewsLife Senior Special Correspondent Eric Leijenaar

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BosNewsLife) -- Dozens of Islamic militants raided a house church in the Indonesian province of West Java on Monday, November 19, the latest in a series of attacks against perceived "illegal" places of worship, local Christians reportedly said.

Italy-based online news agency Adnkronos International (AKI) said about "30 self-appointed Islamic vigilantes" apparently entered a house in Citeureup Village of Bandung region to protest against church services there.

AKI quoted the house owner, Ranto Gunawan Simamora, as telling reporters that "dozens of people raided the house and went directly to the living room which is normally used for Christian gatherings and worship."

No-one was injured in the raid and police sealed off the house pending further investigations, AKI said.


The attack was apparently the latest against what militants and authorities regard as "illegal places of worship" in Java and beyond.

Under controversial legislation, Christians, Buddhists or Hindus can reportedly only establish a place of worship in Indonesia if at least 90 people become members and at least 60 local residents living nearby are supporters of a different religion.

Rights watchers say the law, contested by several religious minorities, was issued in March last year and replaced a slightly stricter legislation adopted in 1969. According to the previous law, 100 people had to agree to a new place of worship.

Indonesia, with its 235 million people, is the world's most populous Islamic nation. Christians comprise less than 10 percent of the population, according to estimates by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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