By BosNewsLife Senior Special Correspondent Eric Leijenaar in the Netherlands and BosNewsLife News Center
JAKARTA/AMSTERDAM (BosNewsLife) — Indonesian security forces have prevented an attack by about 50 Muslim militants on the troubled Pasundan Christian Church in West Java Province, the second act of violence against the Protestant congregation in two weeks, a well-informed Christian rights group said Thursday, December 13.
Netherlands-based Open Doors, which supports Christians allegedly persecuted for their faith, said "two trucks of police officers arrived" December 2, just "several hours earlier" than the planned attack "to protect the building" against suspected members of the Anti Apostasy Movement Alliance' (AAMA). Police also stepped up protection of local Christians around the church in West Java's South Bandung area, Open Doors told BosNewsLife in a statement.
The latest incident came after some "250 radical Muslims" of AAMA forced their way into the Pasundan Christian Church on November 18, "destroying the locked doors," Open Doors told BosNewsLife earlier.
Although the church already exists over five decades, the municipality authorities have refused to give official permission to use the building for worship services apparently under pressure of Islamic leaders and militants, several sources have said.
"Already 25 years they are trying to receive permission. However [permission] is always refused because local Islamic leaders say there are not enough Christians in the area," Open Doors added. It quoted Islamic leaders as saying, "There isn't a need for a church."
Christians have reportedly explained to several authorities and Muslim representatives that they need the church building for Christmas services. However "Muslim militants have threatened to attack the church [again] if it is not closed." The municipality has reportedly provided another building for church survives under police protection. "However church leaders are still trying to get permission to hold church services in their own building," Open Doors said.
The tensions have underscored problems faced by minority Christians in Indonesia's, the world's largest Muslim nation.
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