Indonesia: Radicals attack a congregation of 200, harass the priest for reading the Bible

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Radicals attacked a congregation of 200 Christians during mass in Indonesia. The assailants forced the priest to flee the church as they hurled threats at him. The priest was harassed as he was reading the Bible during the service at the Saint Peter Church Purwosari, near Surakarta in Central Java.

Christians persecuted in Indonesia

This was a memorial service which was being attended by a large number of Christians. The village chief was also attending the service. Witnesses claim there were two attackers who stormed into the church, and started insulting and threatening the priest while he was reading the Bible. The police captured them and took them out of the church, however after a while they returned with a large crowd and obstructed the service.

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“Just after communion they began to intimidate those present, including children, demanding that the mass be interrupted. Eventually the priest, Fr. Adrianus Sulistiyono, was forced to flee along with his assistant,” one of the witnesses said.

The motive of the attack is not yet clear, however no affiliation has yet been discovered between attackers and terror groups. Previously, in a similar attack an ISIS adherent had attempted to blow his explosives in a church in Medan in late August.

Indonesian Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said that the 18-year-old assailant was “obsessed” with Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. He was carrying a backpack full of explosives as he was present among the congregants. Fortunately his bomb failed to go off and he resorted to manually attacking the priest with an axe.