Indonesian pastor injured as suicide bomber attempts attack during church service

September 7, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Indonesia, September 2, 2016: In the middle of a church service on Sunday 28 August in Medan, Sumatra, a Muslim man attempted to detonate a suicide bomb but when this failed he attacked the pastor leading the service with an axe. The pastor escaped with minor injuries when the attacker, who was carrying a drawing of the Islamic State (IS) flag, was restrained by the congregation.

According to police in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, the attacker was inspired by the murder of the French priest, Father Jacques Hamel, in July and was in contact with a fellow Indonesian in Raqqa, Islamic State’s de-facto capital in Syria. The attack reflects the growing influence of IS on militant activity in Indonesia, including an attack in Jakarta in January, in which eight people were killed (four of whom were the attackers themselves).

Christians comprise at least 15% of the country’s population of 256 million people. Until a generation ago Christians and Muslims lived together peaceably and with equal status, in this, the most populous Muslim country in the world.

Aside from the militant threat, Christians are also suffering at the hands of the authorities in parts of the country. In October 2015, authorities in Aceh – the only province in Indonesia which has sharia law incorporated into its legal system – forced the closure of 12 churches under the premise that they did not have official permits; the permits are very difficult to obtain, as churches are required to get local authority approval and secure support from 60 local households of different faiths.

– barnabas persecution update

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