Angry Indonesian Muslims Torch Two Christian Churches in Central Java
Indonesian Muslims stormed a courthouse and burnt two churches in central Java, after a Christian man was sentence to five years in prison for distributing leaflets that were considered as insulting to Islam.
The attacks were carried out in Temanggung because, according to police, the people considered the sentence unsatisfactory and demanded the death penalty.
The incident occurred two days after the Muslims killed three members of an Islamic sect, in a village nearby.
The nervous crowd attacked the court soon after the verdict was read, and the commotion spread, causing other people to set two churches on fire nearby and damage a third church. Police fired warning shots to disperse the crowd.
On Sunday, Muslims attacked a group of Ahmadiyah Muslims, a sect deemed by the state as deviant, but not banned.
Footage at the spot shows people of the sect being stripped of their clothes before they were beaten senseless, until several of them died, by the Muslims who do not belong to their sect.
This developments come as a surprise given that Indonesia is one of the tolerant countries in the world when it comes to religious diversity.
Human rights activists advised that the country should become more intolerant of extremist groups. There is a need to bring those who commit these atrocities before justice.
Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, and though it is considered a secular country, and religious tolerance is a policy, infringements of the rights of citizens to practice their religion have been spotted in the recent years, prompting criticism against the president, accused of not doing enough to put a stop to extremism.
This episode seems to be the latest of predicaments Christian people have to endure in the Muslim world.
This year was actually opened by a terrifying crime against Christian Copts in Alexandria, Egypt, and it took a great attitude of the Muslim intellectuals in the northern African country, who came to protect Copts on their Christmas with their own bodies, to convince the world that most of the Muslims are not murderers and terrorists, but rather decent people.
Pope Benedict XVI protested the infringement of the right of Christians to practice their religion, making a special reference to the Egyptian authorities.
As the Egyptian leaders were expressing their anger and vexation at the papal warning, a man shot a Christian and wounded many in a train in Egypt.
In Pakistan, the blasphemy law is considered as a form of prosecuting the religious minority, since people can end up dead for alleged crimes against Islam.
An attempt to deal with this law cost the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer his life, as his own bodyguard killed him a few weeks ago and was cheered by the population as a hero and a “martyr.”11