INDONESIA: Church Attacked, Pastor Charged with Violating Shariah
August 8, 2012
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On the morning of June 17, shouts of anger and shattering glass interrupted songs of praise at the newly relocated Indonesia Bethel Church (GBI) in Penayongan . About 100 protesters had gathered outside, and believers were forced to flee out the back door when some of the protesters stormed the church. The mob vandalized the church, destroying musical instruments and sound equipment.
Police arrived and dispersed the protesters, but they took the church's piano and sound system as evidence. They also detained 13 believers, including the pastor, and interrogated them until late evening. The pastor was charged with violating Shariah law by holding church services without permission.
Police closed the church and denied the pastor entry to the building, which also served as his residence. As a result, the pastor was forced to move back to his hometown of Medan.