Indonesia (MNN) — Seven house churches in Indonesia were forcibly closed by 200 to 300 Muslim extremists last week in West Java, Indonesia.
Voice of the Martyrs, Canada reports that members of Muslim hardliner groups like the Islam Protector Front, Moslem Forum, and the Islamic Reformation Movement gathered outside the seven houses to do sudden building inspections.
The house churches were being used by members of the Protestant Batak Christian Huria Church. The militants argued that the houses contained "illegal church meetings" and forced the congregation to go elsewhere. House owners were forbidden from hosting any more worship services.
These evictions are built on a long history in Indonesia of Muslim-Christian run-ins, especially in West Java. In 2005, three female Sunday school teachers were convicted for "proselytizing Muslim children," despite the women's protests that they had parental consent. In 2008, a church was shut down for not having enough signatures from villagers on a petition. Just this last July, Voice of the Martyrs reported an increase in death threats from Muslims to Christians. The constant push for sharia law in the country doesn't help.
Now Christians are again being threatened. Pray that God would use this ordeal to strengthen the church and build their platform for evangelism. Pray that believers would continue to reach out in love to those around them, persevering despite persecution. Pray that the hearts of the Muslim extremists involved in this particular attack would be changed for the Gospel.