Indonesia: Christians under attack amid tensions spark between Christians and Muslims

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churches burnt in Indonesia

Tensions have burst between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia.

According to World Watch Monitor, a riot broke out between Christians and Muslims in the predominantly Christian island of Papua. Almost 70% of its population is Christian.

The Indonesian newspapers allegedly accuse the Christians of prohibiting Muslims from praying on July 17, which was the end of Ramadan, when a group of Christians pelted stones at some Muslim praying halls. It was also alleged that in advance Christians had prohibited Muslims from praying.

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On the other hand, according to the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI), clarifies stating, “We never prohibited the Muslim congregations from praying. We only sent a notification to the local police office about a special church event two weeks beforehand as it coincided with the Eid al-Fitr festival, recommending that both the church and mosque not use loud speakers to avoid disturbing each other.”

According to Church authorities, the police and army consecutively failed to pass the notification. “Then, when a group of Christian youths approached the Muslims to ask them to turn down their loud speakers,” he says, “The police took it as a sign of confrontation and opened fire on the Christians, killing a 15-year-old boy and wounding 12 other youths.”

Shortly, the news of the incident in Tolikara spread promptly across Indonesia, which lead to nationwide retaliatory attacks on Christians and churches. The incident created an impression that the Church was hostile to Muslims which has sparked a series of attacks on Christians elsewhere in Indonesia.