Barnabas Aid - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Persecuted pastor in Indonesia facing le...

Email:

Persecuted pastor in Indonesia facing legal action after church attack

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Persecuted pastor in Indonesia facing legal action after church attack

Country/Region: Indonesia, South and East Asia

A pastor in Indonesia is facing assault charges after his beleaguered church was attacked by a mob of Muslim extremists; a human rights group has supported him.

Indonesian churches are vulnerable to Islamist attack and official harassment
Indonesian churches are vulnerable to Islamist attack and official harassment

Police on 20 March named the Rev. Palti Panjaitan as a suspect in an assault case relating to an incident that took place when the congregation of his church in Bekasi, West Java, was attacked during a meeting.

Following the Christmas Eve attack, during which members of Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) were pelted with rotten eggs, dung and plastic bags full of urine, the pastor was attempting to leave the scene with his wife when Abdul Aziz, the leader of the mob, moved to attack him. Palti stopped the Muslim’s blow with his hand in order to protect himself and his wife.

Ironically, the extremist later claimed that Palti had assaulted him by hitting him in the chest. The pastor’s account is corroborated by the fact that although many police officers witnessed the incident, no action was taken against him at the time. Aziz had intimidated Palti on a previous occasion and also threatened to kill him.

In an open letter to the UN, Human Rights Working Group - Indonesia (HRWG) criticised the authorities’ handling of the case, saying:

[Rev. Palti Panjaitan] has been criminalised because he was defending himself from the violent attack perpetrated by an intolerant group when he held a mass prayer on 24th December in Bekasi.

The letter also accused “certain members of the state apparatus” of actively increasing religious intolerance in Indonesia.

Referring to the legal proceedings, the pastor said, “These summons have been disrupting my concentration and my leadership of HKBP Filadelfia.”

HKBP has in the past been subject both to mob violence by Islamists and to official harassment. The congregation were the victims of a similar attack in May 2012, when hundreds of Islamists tried to block them from reaching their site and showered them with sewage, water, used oil, mud, rotten eggs, sticks and other blunt objects.

The church has been meeting outside and in homes since its building was sealed off by the authorities in 2010. Despite its meeting all the conditions for a building permit, and despite a Supreme Court ruling that one should be granted, Bekasi officials are still refusing to issue the permit.

Palti’s case is the latest in a succession of charges brought against community leaders who were in fact the victims of mobs that attacked them because of their beliefs. HRWG has said that at least four have been prosecuted since 2011.

In one example, a gang of Islamic extremists attacked the Pentecostal church in Mekargalih village in West Java in January and assaulted its pastor. Instead of prosecuting the attackers, the authorities subsequently arrested the minister, Bernhard Maukar, and sentenced him to three months in prison for holding services without a valid permit. The church’s attempts to apply for a permit have all been blocked by local officials.

Other churches in Indonesia are also targeted by the authorities. GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor has been subject to an enduring campaign of official harassment. And HKBP Setu Church’s building in Bekasi was demolished on 21 March after the congregation’s applications for a permit had been repeatedly denied. During the demolition, church members looked on in tears as Muslim protestors, who called the Christians “infidels”, cheered on the workers.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Persecuted pastor in Indonesia facing legal action after church attack

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Pray for the friends and family of Beatrice Mukashaka, an 18-year-old Christian woman, who was hacked to death in a savage attack by Muslims during an overnight prayer meeting at a church in Uganda. A group of around 20 Christians had gathered at the church in Kyegegwa district for their regular Friday night prayer session when armed Muslims burst into the building at around 2am. Please pray for all who mourn for Beatrice and that the assailants will be brought to justice. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 16 hours ago

    • Churches in Christian-majority Burundi are facing the unfamiliar situation of political restriction by their own government because of a new law passed in August that requires each church to have at least 500 members and a proper building. Congregations have a year in which to comply with the new regulations. Although intended to reduce some scandalous practices, the law is strangely reminiscent of the strict regimes of Central Asia. Pray that religious liberty will be maintained in Burundi, both for Christians and for the small minorities who follow other religions. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Pray for eight Cameroonian missionaries who have been harshly reminded of the cost of sharing the Gospel in their country during a training seminar to equip them for ministry. Barnabas had helped to fund a series of seminars, and on the final day of the last seminar they heard that Jean-Marcel Kesvere, another Cameroonian missionary, who had been planning to attend the seminar with his wife, had been kidnapped by Boko Haram and that his body had been found earlier that day. Give thanks for the response of the missionaries, who expressed their willingness to suffer similarly for Christ, and pray that their work will bear much fruit (John 12:24). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Please pray for Christians in northern Cameroon, where Boko Haram is terrorising people, especially Christians and security forces, just as in neighbouring Nigeria. The Islamist militants openly declare themselves to be Boko Haram, and issue threats by letter, including to pastors telling them they must leave. Two pastors were killed in the village of Assigashia on the night of 25-26 August, hich has caused great distress and consternation. The Cameroonian Christians ask for prayer that God will bring peace and security, that the kidnapped will be released, that believers will stand firm despite being targeted, that God will comfort the traumatised, and that church leaders will know how to prepare their people for persecution. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • “The cathedral in Damaturu now has only about 40 members instead of 450 members. The church in Potiskum now has only about 15 members instead of 500 members… the southern part of [Yobe state] is still very dangerous and most of the churches here have closed down.” A senior church leader in Nigeria wrote to Barnabas Aid in August about the impact on the Church of Boko Haram’s violence. Nevertheless Christians were still holding worship services every Sunday, discipling the young people and even commissioning pastors. Praise God for such perseverance, and pray that a Christian presence and witness may remain in north-east Nigeria. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Aid 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Aid is a registered trade mark