By BosNewsLife Asia Service
JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BosNewsLife)– Christians on the outskirt of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta tried to resume their lives Wednesday, May 23, a week after an angry Muslim mob threw plastic bags filled with urine at their church congregation celebrating the ascension of Christ and allegedly tried to kill their pastor.
It was one of the most serious incidents against members of the Philadelphia Batak Christian Protestant Church in Bekasi city, who are known to have been targeted several times in recent years.
The church lawyer, Judianto Simanjuntak, said some “600 Islamic hardliners” were involved in the attack last Thursday, May 17.
“They attacked when the pastor started to speak to the congregation. A crowd of 600 people threw bags of urine and dirty water as they tried to push police,” he told reporters.
Witnesses said the violence, during which stones and dirt were also hurled, occurred as around 100 Christians began the church service.
The church complained that police did not intervene.
National police spokesman Saud Usman Nasution countered that “an investigation has started” but no arrests were reported.
In 2009, the local administration reportedly ordered the church be shut down, but a provincial court overruled that decision, which was also upheld by the Supreme Court last year.
The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a radical Islamic group, was supporting the attack, witnesses said. There was no immediate known response from FPI.
Several other churches in Bekasi have suffered attacks in recent years, the worst leaving a priest badly bashed and an elderly leader stabbed during a Sunday service in 2010.
Devoted Christians have also complained of increased attacks elsewhere in what is the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Christians comprise at least nearly 12 percent of the country’s nearly 250 million people, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), though some Christian researchers say that figure may be higher.
There has been more criticism this week that hardliners are wielding too much power in the country after the police refused US pop singer Lady Gaga a permit to perform in Jakarta, French news agency AFP reported.