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Muslims attack Catholic students in Indonesia

A mob of Muslim men assaulted a group of 15 Catholic students whilst they were praying in a rented house.

The Catholic group were praying the rosary in Banten Province, on the Indonesian island of Javaon Sunday the 5th of March. Local Muslims were outraged that instead of a church the Christians used a rented house. The angry mob attacked the student group with a long machete, sickles, knives and blocks. One of the female students suffered a minor injury near her nose and another had a small wound in the stomach. A male Muslim student, Farhan Rizky Romadhon, who tried to save them, was also assaulted and suffered a cut on his head. 

According to religious and human rights activist Permadi Arya, better known as Abu Janda: “Catholic students of Pamulang University were beaten and hacked in Viktor – in Pamulang, Babakan village – just because they prayed. The incident was started by the head of the neighbourhood named Diding who provoked residents.”

Based on eyewitness accounts, Dining had previously intimidated them: “I have told you not to hold worship here. If you want to hold the worship, do it in the church there, as we Muslims do worship in the mosque. How dare you disrespect me as the head of the neighbourhood”.

Permadi Arya asked the Indonesia Minister of Religion Yaqut Cholil Qoumas to take legal action on behalf of the Christian students. Their appointed attorney, Siprianus Edi Hardum had reported the incident to the Metro Jaya Regional Police Chief and requested them to arrest the perpetrators.

Mr Edi Hardum stated: “At 19:30, the crowd started to gather after hearing provocation from the RT head who shouted ‘Hey, if you don’t disperse, I will call the residents’. The masses came carrying sharp objects as long machetes, sickles, and even blocks.”

He also confirmed that praying the rosary from house to house is legal and traditionally held in May and October in Indonesia: “Anyone is free to carry out their worship. People who disturb people who are praying are considered pests of the country, destroyers of Indonesia as a democratic country.”

The South Tangerang Police Resort detained the group leader and three other male residents as suspects. They also recorded video footage of the weapons used: two knives, a sickle and a long machete. 


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