US Ambassador Meets Islamist Mayor, Skips Intimidated Church
A surprisingly good article in the Jakarta Post this week, and even more surprisingly, it was written by a Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the ‘European Parliament.’ The JP got the article from Project Syndicate, which doesn’t often provide such sensible stuff!
His warning, on the worldwide menaces that Christians face, was most welcome, but it was a pity that the article omitted mention of the most obvious local examples of Islamist injustice, the persecution of two small churches in Bogor and Bekasi.
The Bogor story must be well-known to anyone who reads RRA, but although we have referred to the Bekasi situation now and then, it is perhaps useful to give you all some more back-ground. especially in the light of the JP’s captivating coverage of a trip to a pesantren (Islamic boarding school) in Bekasi by the American Ambassador to Indonesia.
In accordance with the outcome of a meeting in the Office of the Mayor of Bekasi, Thursday (13/10) with the Regional Leadership Forum (FKPD) Bekasi, including others, the Acting Mayor of Bekasi Dr. H. Rahmat Effendi, city police chief, Commissioner Pol Priyo Widiyanto, Chief State Prosecutor Bambang Rustamaji…
Also present Chairman of the Forum for Religious Harmony (FKUB) Bekasi H. Abdul Manan, Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Bekasi, Secretary Sat Pol PP Bekasi Sam…and other elements, agreed to prohibit all activities of the Ahmadiyya Indonesia in accordance with Bekasi Governor Regulation (gubernatorial) No. 12 of 2011 on the ban Ahmadiyah activities and instruction Bekasi Mayor in 2011 on the prohibition of activities of the Ahmadiyya in Bekasi.
What a great pity Mr. Marciel didn’t take the time to visit the persecuted Protestants in Tambun, a Bekasi neighbourhood where I used to shop in the traditional market. That’s where the HKBP Church is located, but vicious Islamist thugs, abetted by local government and police collaborators, have prevented them ever using it for worship.
A useful summary of events appeared last week in Media Indonesia 5/4
- The Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation urged the central government to step in to the dispute about the HKBP Church in North Tambun, Bekasi.
Although it has had a ruling from the State Administrative Court since 2 September 2010 which prohibits termination of the construction and service activities, Bekasi has not issued a permit for establishment of a place of worship.
“Today we will write to the Metro Jaya police chief and the Minsitry of Religious Affairs to intervene in this matter,” said public defender YLBHI F. Yonesta on Thursday (12/4).
HKBP Filadelfia Church has pursued the construction of the church since 2003….it was finally approved in June 2007. However, permission was met with mob demonstrations at Christmas 2009. Bekasi Regency officially banned the establishment of the church on January 3, 2010…discrimination continues despite the administrative court order to repeal the ban on establishment of places of worship. Since January 2012 there are sound systems placed around the disputed land.
“When we perform our service in the open, some people always create loud disturbance, initially two loudspeakers. nowfour. We really cannot worship in peace,” said the head of the Church of Philadelphia Rev. HKBP Palti Panjaitan.
And it gets worse and worse, for =
In a meeting Friday (30/3), five members of the congregation were forced to sign an agreement to cease worshipping in the field. “The meeting was sudden, there were hundreds of people including the Bekasi Police to intimidate the congregation into signing the agreement. We have submitted written revocation …….” says Palti.
And an AmericanAmbassador goes to talk to the Mayor who’s in cahoots with these Islamist bigots? With a man who boasted of his readiness to be ‘firm’ in suppressing freedom of religion in Bekasi?
ELSAM spokesman Zainal Abidin warned that if the government lets this case of HKBP Filadelfia go unheeded, discrimination will continue to happen to the minority community. Bekasi’s handling of the issue, he added, is a testament to the weakness of law and democracy defects.
Good for ELSAM, which is one of those brave NGOs here that stick up for freedom of religion and fair play under the law.
And BAD for the USA, whose envoy prefers to hunker down with bigots in an Islamic boarding school rather than make a short detour to meet those harassed Christians, who have to worship in a field outside the church denied them by Islamist iniquity.
Signor Provera’s final paragraph should be the watchword of Western ambassadors.
The European Union, the United States, and the world’s other democracies have the capacity to raise the issue of religious persecution; what they lack is the will. The EU should follow the example of the US State Department, which publishes a comprehensive annual report on religious freedom around the world.
Another possibility is to raise the issue through bilateral agreements with countries where Christians are persecuted. That way, it would become clear that these states cannot operate with impunity when it comes to their religious minorities, whether they profess Christianity or any other faith.
But what will Ambassador Marciel report on his ‘talks’ with the man who outlawed freedom of religion in Bekasi – ‘a free and frank’ debate?
Not good enough – we need a full and forceful denunciation of Islamist intolerance, not dhimmi dialectics!
PS Please vote in our poll on the Western Ambassador here who praised Islamist oppression.