Mob Destroys Church in South Sulawesi

15 October 2002

A mob has destroyed a church in the predominantly Muslim city of Makassar in 
South Sulawesi.

The mob took the law into its own hands after it was reported that the church 
had been built without the necessary permits.  The building of churches 
requires a permit from the city authorities who consult the local population.  
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 
criticised 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 horrific car bomb attack in Bali has demonstrated to the world, in a most 
chilling and shocking way, the influence of Al-Qaeda on extremist Islamic 
groups in Indonesia.  Evidence is emerging that also links Al-Qaeda 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-Qaeda 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-Qaeda representative in 
Southeast Asia with responsibility for planning and coordinating attacks 
against American targets in the region.  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.

Pray
Pray that the church in Makassar will be allowed to have a building in which to 
meet to worship the Lord.

Pray 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 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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