INDONESIA: Muslim Family Disrupts Christian Worship

15 May 2024

Source: Morning Star News

In a village in East Java on Wednesday 8 May, the head of the Citizen Association in the Benowo area, along with his wife and son, stood outside a house church at about 7pm shouting for the 30 members to stop worshipping, according to video footage and news reports.

One of the worshippers, identified only as Gabriella, said the father, mother and son came to the house screaming, yelling and calling them bad names as they demanded the worship stop, according to sources. The West Indonesia Protestant Church (Gereja Protestan di Indonesia Bagian Barat) congregation meeting at the house halted their service.

“They came shouting at us to stop worship,” Gabriella said. “The situation attracted residents to come, including the [resident’s association leader], who tried to calm the situation down.” The worship was not loud and has been taking place regularly without incident for 10 years, she said.

In a video of the altercation posted on social media, the narrator identifies the Citizen Association head as Yayak Hari Subagio. The narrator states that 30 members of the house church were worshipping as the family outside yelled at them, demanding them to stop the service.

Cerme Police Chief Andik Asworo confirmed that the altercation took place on Wednesday evening 8 May. “It was a dismissal, not a disbanding,” Andik said, adding that police are investigating and trying to mediate the conflict. “We are still waiting for confirmation from the local [resident’s association leader].”

Sources noted that it was unusual that the local official disrupting the service, though overseeing several neighbourhoods in the area, was not from the immediate neighbourhood. Sources continued, “Maybe this is a reminder that the Inter-Religious Harmony Forum (Forum Komunikasi Umat Beragama) needs to continue to socialise and promote the values of religious moderation that encourage harmony and tolerance between various elements of the society.”

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    Pray that God would use the police investigation to protect the freedoms believers have in East Java.

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    Thank God that He has continually upheld this church for ten years and pray that the believers would not give up meeting together.

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