Mob Destroys Church in South Sulawesi, Indonesia

Sunday, August 11, 2002

By Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

SOUTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA (ANS) -- A mob has destroyed a church in the predominantly Muslim city of Makassar in South Sulawesi, according to a report from The Barnabas Fund.

The mob took the law into its own hands after it was reported that the church had been built without the necessary permits, said a Press Release from the agency which monitors situations like this around the world.

"The building of churches requires a permit from the city authorities who consult the local population," the release said. "Churches cannot be built in predominantly Muslim areas. Some participants in the destruction claimed that the church had been warned to vacate or demolish the premises but had failed to do so. Although the local police chief has criticized people for taking the law into their own hands, no action was taken by the authorities to prevent the destruction while official investigations into the existence of a building permit were still ongoing," the report stated.

The horrific car bomb attack in Bali has demonstrated to the world, in a most chilling and shocking way, the influence of al-Qa'ida on extremist Islamic groups in Indonesia, the release said.

"Evidence is emerging that also links al-Qa'ida with attacks on Christian targets. An Islamic extremist arrested in connection with the series of bombings of churches in Indonesia at Christmas 2000, is reported to be an al-Qa'ida operative.

"Omar al-Faruq was arrested by Indonesian police in June 2002 and handed over to the US authorities. Secret US documents are said to indicate that al-Faruq was a senior al-Qa'ida representative in Southeast Asia with responsibility for planning and coordinating attacks against American targets in the region," The Barnabas Fund said.

"He has also been linked to attempts to assassinate Indonesian President Megawati. Although al-Faruq’s origins and movements are shrouded in mystery, there is some evidence that he was involved in training and leading Islamic extremist groups during the anti-Christian violence in the Malukus in 2000 and 2001, in which an estimated 15,000 Christians were killed," the agency reported.


The Barnabas Fund requests prayer that the church in Makassar will be allowed to have a building in which to meet to worship the Lord and that the authorities in Indonesia will protect Christians from mob violence and that permission will be given to build churches where they are needed.

Pray also that Indonesian Christians will be protected from Islamic extremists who often associate them with the West and see them as legitimate targets for violence.


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