Tired of government inaction, Christians and other religious minorities in Indonesia are pushing back against rising violence by Islamic hard-liners.
For months, Christians in the industrial city of Bekasi have been warned against worshipping on a field that houses their shuttered church. They've arrived to find human feces dumped on the land and sermons have been interrupted by demonstrators chanting "Infidels!" and "Leave now!"
But last week, tensions finally exploded.
Twenty worshippers were met by 300 Islamic hard-liners, many of whom hurled shoes and water bottles before pushing past a row of riot police. The mob chased down and punched several members of the group.
"The constitution guarantees our right to practice our religion!" Yudi Pasaribu of the Batak Christian Protestant Church said, vowing to return every Sunday until their request for a place of worship, made more than two years ago, is approved.
"And we want to do that on our own property, in our own church."
Monday, August 16, 2010
Indonesia's Constitution Protects Religious Freedom, Too...
...but enforcing it appears to have become inconvenient to the government: