Persecution Fridays: Indonesia – Pastor Arrested

November 18, 2011 at 10:05 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: www.persecution.com

Indonesia: Pastor Arrested

After closing the Indonesia Pentecost Church (Gpdi) in Sumedang, Indonesia, for using an illegal building permit, authorities arrested the church’s pastor for forcing others to attend church. The church was built more than 24 years ago, and it has experienced threats only within the last few months.

“This church building is a permanent building, and it has been there for more than 24 years,” said Theophilus Belo, director of Jakarta Christian Communication Forum (FKKJ). “During that time, everything was going well. But on July this year, this congregation got a problem. Their church has been closed by local administration.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011, a local administrative group threatened to close the church. The church had previously received a letter urging them to stop Christian activities, and the district head of Jatinangor in Sumedang, Nandang Suparman, said the church building had no legal building permit.

“Until today we have not yet received their building permit documentation application,” Suparman said. “We have checked if they are already submitting it from a district administrative level. On May this year, if I’m not mistaken, we sent them a letter to urge them to start applying for their building permit. We are already giving them a chance to start applying, but they don’t do it.”

Suparman urged the church to move its services into a church building belonging to the Institute of Public Administration (IPND). “I’ll talk with the leaders of IPND that this congregation is permitted to use their institute’s church building,” he said.

The Indonesian Christian organization Kabar Gereja reports that the IPND cannot accommodate the congregations of any more closed churches. At least 14 churches have been relocated to the IPND’s church building.

Gpdi’s pastor was put on trial on Oct. 3 at Sumedang Government Court, and he faces up to three months in prison for forcing others to attend church. The church’s closure adds to the long list of churches that have been closed by Indonesian authorities. Other church leaders have also been arrested after their churches closed, according to Kabar Gereja. According to the FKKJ, at least 30 churches have been closed or burned in Indonesia in 2011.

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Persecution Fridays – Egypt – Video Sparks Protest

November 4, 2011 at 9:49 am | Posted in VOM Fridays | Leave a comment
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For more news on what’s really happening to Christians around the world go to the Voice of the Martyrs website: http://www.persecution.com

Egypt: Video Sparks Protests

A YouTube video of 25 Egyptian soldiers beating Coptic Christian Raef After Faheem prompted a protest by thousands of Coptic Christians on Sunday, Oct. 9.

“[I] would like to let you know that millions of Egyptian Christians will go out to the streets all over Egypt — from all the cities — to demonstrate against the army leaders because of the video,” a VOM contact wrote the day before the protests. “The Muslim group and Salafi movement are threatening the Christians, saying that we do not have any rights in the country. We do not know what could happen tomorrow, but we decided to go out and [use] our voices against persecution.”

The military fired at demonstrators when the protests began Sunday afternoon, and videos posted online show increased violence as military vehicles ran over protestors. According to VOM contacts, the Egyptian military eventually attacked the hospital where injured Christians were being treated and even tried to kill hospital employees. International news agencies report that at least 24 people have been killed, including at least 17 Christians.

The violence began after Muslim extremists attacked a recently rebuilt Christian church in Sohag, near Cairo. The governor of Sohag protected the church’s attackers and said, “If the Muslims did not destroy the church on that day, I would go destroy it myself.” Shocked by the governor’s comment, the Christians held a demonstration at a TV and radio building, and the Egyptian army responded to the demonstrations. A VOM contact said, “They were very [tough] in beating and attacking the Christians instead of restoring their rights. [This] situation is too hard and really unbelievable. We are waiting for the Lord to show mercy on the martyrs’ families. Please keep praying for us, and ask our beloved friends everywhere to pray.”


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