Muslim mob closes Christian church in Indonesia

JAKARTA, November 8, 2002 (Deutsche Presse-Agentur) -- Church leaders in 
Bandung, West Java, have called on Indonesian authorities to intervene 
in the violent closure of a Christian church this week by a Moslem
mob, a news report said on Friday.

More than 100 Moslems attacked the Christian HKBP church in Bandung, 135
kilometres southeast of Jakarta, on Wednesday, pelting the premise with stones
and forcing churchgoers to flee the building, said The Jakarta Post. "The most
ironic thing is that a number of police were present at the site but did
nothing to prevent the mob from entering the place of worship," said Church
minister Reverend Oloan Nainggolan.

He said the mob was led by Wildan Anas, chairman of the so-called Mosque
Security Council (FSDKM).

The council had given the church a deadline to close on Wednesday, the start of
Ramadan - Islam's holy month of fasting - on the claim that it had no building
permit from city authorities.

Nainggolan said the church had been built in 1990 with the necessary permit,
and called on the government to intervene.

"We are astounded that the authorities are fearful of taking actions against
this anarchic act," Nainggolan told The Jakarta Post.

Freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Indonesian constitution, although
churches often run into delays when seeking permission to build a new premise.

Indonesia is the world's most populous Moslem nation, with some 85 per cent of
its 215 million people professing to following Islam.

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