Indonesia Muslim Mob Burns Down Mission Church in Aceh, Christians Say

Monday, September 11, 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BosNewsLife) -- Christians in Indonesia's volatile province of Aceh on Saturday, September 9, were without their Indonesia Evangelical Mission Church Saturday, after an angry Muslim mob set fire to the complex because evangelicals planned, 'revival' meetings there, several sources said.

Pastor Luther Saragih and his pregnant wife were reportedly still in hiding Saturday, September 9, more than a week after the attack.

Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), a religious rights group investigating the situation, told BosNewsLife that "a Muslim mob burned down the Indonesia Evangelical Mission Church building in Siompi, in the Singkil area of Aceh."

VOMC explained that "news reached local Muslims that the church was planning revival meetings. This angered those who are intent on making their province strictly Islamic." the group added.


An estimated over 500 Christians had arrived for the service, but a large crowd of angry Muslims apparently disturbed the meeting.

Police reportedly detained Pastor Saragih, but another pastor was able to deliver a brief sermon before the event was cut short, Christians said.

Later that night a mob of over 100 men allegedly poured gasoline over the building and set fire to it while also attempting to burn a second building used as a church kindergarten.


As they attempted to find Saragih and his wife, the couple escaped to the jungle. Christians in a neighboring province have reportedly provided shelter for Saragih following allegations that local police and Muslim leaders are searching for them. The church is now meeting for worship in a local home.

There has been growing international concern over the situation in Aceh. "Earlier this year, the Indonesian province became the first to institute and enforce Shariah law," VOMC said in a statement to BosNewsLife.

It said it had urged supporters to "pray that the believers in Siompi will be steadfast in their service for the Lord" and "that they will be able to actually rejoice in their loss as they look forward to their eternal possessions..." Christians make up about eight percent of Indonesia, the world largest Muslim nation, with over 245 million people. (With reports from Indonesia).

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