Indonesia (MNN) — The United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recently raised concerns over the
plight of religious minorities in Indonesia.
Many are Christians who have been noting the rise of violent
attacks and forced displacement. This, in addition to other forms of
discrimination, such as being denied identification cards. Sources from Open Doors and the Voice of the
Martyrs say there have been reports of forced church closures, even where the
churches have secured legal permission.
International Christian Concern reported Jakarta police
finally taking security measures to protect Christians as they gathered to
celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. More than 12,000 police were
deployed to roughly 2,000 churches throughout Central Java.
groups in Indonesia, with suspected ties to al Qaeda, continue to grow more
violent towards Christians, with little resistance from authorities.
Voice of the Martyrs noted one
incident with a girl named Ribur who was jailed for 60 days for talking about
her faith in Jesus. According to the VOM report, she chose to be
part of an agricultural mission project in Aceh on the island of Sumatra. Teaching about how to raise crops and
livestock often gave the team opportunities to answer questions about their
ICC says Ribur eventually began a community
Bible study. She and another teammate
had developed a relationship with a local woman, who eventually gave her life
to Christ. That’s where Ribur ran into trouble.
Shortly after this, a mob attacked
Ribur and the other Christian worker. The beating continued for 45 minutes,
eventually ending when the police came and arrested the pair for blaspheming
Islam. When officials asked her why she
shared about Jesus, Ribur said, "Jesus wants everyone to know about Him."
Eventually, the pair was
released. However, Franz
Magnis-Suseno of the Driyarkara School of Philosophy says, "The religious
situation in Indonesia is marked by a rising number of social conflicts between
neighborhoods and villages; conflicts on ethnic and, increasingly, on religious
The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence
(Kontras) cited the lack of religious freedom in Indonesia as among the issues
that marred the country's human rights record.
Ignorance by the government has obviously encouraged
increasing violence against minority groups in other areas, too, all across the
country, which could potentially be misused by political interests approaching
the 2014 legislative and presidential elections, said Kontras.
Pray for Christians like Ribur who are facing persecution for
their faith. Ask God to give those who
face persecution the strength to stand strong and testify the truth.