Indonesian police break up Christian congregation gathering for Sunday worship
Indonesian Pentecostal Christians in Indragiri Hilir district, on the island of Sumatra, had their church shut down on Sunday 25 August and police then stopped them from worshipping in a tent next to the building, according to a Barnabas contact.
The local authorities seemed determined to stop the Christians meeting to worship at all. The Barnabas contact said, “These incidents are occurring in many places in Indonesia,” as he called for prayer for the pastor and congregation.
Christians make up at least 15% of the population of Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population of any country in the world. Until a generation ago, Muslims and Christians lived peaceably side by side as equals, but since the 1980s the role of Islam in public life has dramatically increased.
The persecution Christians face is often at the whim of local authorities, whose attitudes towards them vary across the vast nation. Some regions that were previously majority-Christian are being gradually Islamised as the government has “transmigrated” Muslims to live in those areas.
From Barnabas Fund contacts