Mike Bouwer, Worthy News South Africa correspondent
JAKARTA, INDONESIA (Worthy News)-- Thousands of Christians took part in a protest against persecution at the National Monument in front of the State Palace, residence of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono this week, Worthy News has learned.
The protest was organized by a Protestant congregation who said they would hold church services outside the state palace after they had been attacked by a mob of 800 in an open field opposite their semi completed church in Jakarta last week.
ISLAMIC DEFENDER FRONT RESPONSIBLE
As reported by Worthy News last week, Islamic extremists, especially the Islamic Defender Front, have attacked the congregation on numerous occasions. The attacks left at least a dozen people injured, including the pastor, Rev. Luspida Simanjunta. The church has reportedly been attacked five times.
Rev. Luspida Simanjutak, pastor of the congregation, was quoted as saying: "We have a moral obligation to protest in the most strategic place, which is before the State Palace. Our president must wake up and see what happens when the right to profess one’s faith is violated by the extremists, because of the lack of state attention."
GOVERNMENT STARTS TALKS
Djoko Suyanto, the minister for legal, political and security affairs was tasked by President Yudhoyono to deal with the Islamic extremists, in particular the Islamic Defender Front in order to end the persecution.
Only after the after the interest of the Indonesian president, did the Mayor of Bekasi begin to act. On August 13, he met the Christians, as well as Islamic extremist organizations. He offered a place for the church to hold their functions in Bekasi, but the Christians have refused, considering the offer as only "words".
The situation remains unresolved, and the congregation still has no place of worship, except their partially built and burned down church, access to which they have been denied.