INDONESIA: Mob Attack Forces Church to Host Services Online

10 October 2023

Source: International Christian Concern, Morning Star News, DetikNews

In the early morning of 16 September, a mob consisting of approximately 50 people had gathered at the front gate of the Maranatha Chapel in Depok City. Mob members angrily banged on the gate while shouting and causing a disturbance. Thankfully, at the time, no service was taking place inside the church building and the crowd eventually dispersed.

Following the incident, congregation members were feeling unsettled and therefore expressed concerns about holding future worship services in the building. The church had just recently begun renting the facility, having held their first worship service at the premises the previous Sunday. Even though the church building fulfilled all the requirements for a permit, some local community members were opposed to the opening of this new place of worship.

After discussing matters with the authorities, the church agreed to host its worship services online for two weeks while all the permit processes were being completed and verified. The congregation has always rented commercial buildings, including the present facility, because permits are not required. However, the Christians decided to go along with the requested process in their efforts to ease any tensions.

Churches are frequently targeted by militant Islamic groups in Indonesia, and the difficult permit process sometimes takes years to complete, particularly when dealing with local governments.

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