Tense Indonesian Christians worry about Christmas security

December 22, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Jakarta, December 20, 2016: Christians in Indonesia have urged police to tighten security ahead of Christmas, despite a recent pledge by the national police chief he would do so.

Members of the anti-terror squad Densus 88 will be on hand to meet any threat, police chief Tito Karnavian said on Dec. 10 amid growing fears of a rise in Muslim extremism in Indonesia.

However, recent events including mass demonstrations against Jakarta’s Christian governor and an attack on a Protestant church in East Kalamantan in which a child died has put many Christians on edge, activists said.

On Dec. 18, four men disrupted a Sunday Mass at Kupang Cathedral in East Nusa Tenggara province Kupang, provoking anger among Catholics.

Although the men were identified as Protestants, many Catholics took to social media to vent their anger with some calling for the men to be killed.

Kistoforus Mbora Kaka, chairman of the Kupang branch of the Union of Catholic University Students said that the situation is alarming, so police must be alert to maintain security.

“The police must be able to ensure that this Christmas everything is calm so we can mark the birth of the Savior with peaceful hearts,” he said.

Petrus Selestinus, a lawyer and spokesman for activist group “Persaudaraan untuk NTT” or “Fraternity for East Nusa Tenggara” said authorities must remain vigilant against possible terror attacks.

He cited several arrests of terror suspects in the region over the last year, including the arrest of a suspect with links to the so-called Islamic State group in Alor Regency in August.

“There are indisputable facts that tolerance, harmony and security in the province is under threat,” he said.

Yuvens Tukung from a Catholic Youth organization urged Christians to show restraint in the face of any provocations over Christmas.

“People should remain calm and leave everything entirely to law enforcement agencies,” he said, referring to the incident at Kupang Cathedral.

– ucan

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