By BosNewsLife Asia Service with reporting by BosNewsLife’s Johan Th. Bos in the Netherlands and Stefan J. Bos at BosNewsLife News Center

Indonesia's minority Christians face threats and attacks from militants.

AMSTERDAM/JAKARTA (BosNewsLife)– The Dutch far right Party for Freedom (PVV) says the Netherlands should demand that Indonesia improves protection of Christians amid reports that hard-line Muslims prepare for a religious war with that country’s Christian minority.

In a petition, PVV-leader Geert Wilders and party representative Raymond de Roon ask the government to summon the ambassador of Indonesia and suggest that the Netherlands “freezes” cooperation with its former colony.

They wrote Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime to tell the Indonesian ambassador that “the Netherlands demands immediate action of the Indonesian government to protect the Christian minority in the city of Bekasi and other areas.”

It comes after a call to form religious militia units was made last week at the second Bekasi I Islamic Conference, a gathering of 2000 representatives from regional Islamic organizations. Nine of the attending organizations reportedly joined to create a group called Bekasi Islamic Presidium tasked with preparing local mosques for a war against “Christianization”.


“Apparently [Christians] want to test our patience. We are planning to invite them for a dialogue to determine what they really want. If talks fail, this might mean war,” said Murhali Barda, General Secretary of the Bekasi chapter of the Islamic Defender’s Front (FPI) in published remarks. . Murhali added that Christians are actively baptizing Muslim converts and “are on to something.”

The head of the Bekasi Islamic Congress, Saleh Mangara Sitompul, issued a number of recommendations to the Bekasi government in line with Sharia, or Muslim, law and recommended that every mosque in Bekasi form its own paramilitary unit. “We hope that the recommendations to the government could be a guide for them so that there will be no religious defamation or inter-religious conflicts,” added Saleh.

One FPI leader, Abdul Qadir Aka, said the paramilitary units were necessary, “When the need arises we will have units that can be mobilized…We have hundreds and even thousands of mosques in Bekasi. Imagine what we can do together.”

International Christian Concern, a major rights group, said the statements are the latest in rising tensions in the Bekasi area. In June 20, the Pondok Timur Indah Church in Bekasi was shut down “because the congregation held prayers in a place where they were not supposed to,” the group said.


Last May, a Catholic school named St. Bellarminus was attacked by a group of Muslims over a comment on a Website that reportedly defamed Islam. In February the Bekasi Galilea Church was closed over allegations of converting Muslims, according to rights activists.

“These recent events in Bekasi, Indonesia, expose a very frightening trend where radical Muslims are willing to go to any length to silence Christians,” added ICC’s Regional Manager, Logan Maurer. “The fact that they are threatening to use paramilitary action and that they are also taking concrete steps toward forming militias shows the degree to which Christians, and ultimately religious freedom, is in danger.”

Separately, hundreds of people calling themselves the Muslim Community of the Puncak Route burned buildings under construction belonging to a Christian organization in West Java Province in April, Christians said. Believing that a church or school building was being built, the mob set fire to the Penabur Christian Education Foundation’s unfinished guest house buildings in Cibeureum village of Cisarua sub-district, Bogor Regency, on April 27.

They also burned a watchman’s hut and at least two cars belonging to foundation directors, witnesses said. There has been growing opposition towards the spread of Christianity in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, according to rights observers.


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