Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

Islamists in Indonesia block efforts to build church, despite permit

Despite having a permit to build a church to accommodate 11,000 people, some 200 members of the Islamic Defenders Front are blocking efforts to construct St. Barbara's in the Indonesian city of Tangerang on Java Island.

The Fides news agency reports that
among the population in Tangerang, leaflets of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI ) and other Islamic organizations united in the Islamic forum "Sudimara Pinang" that are opposed to the construction of the church, are circulating. According to the forum, "the church is a threat to Islam, and if the construction of the church continues, Christians will convert Muslims in the coming decades". As Fides learns, the Muslim religious leaders in Tangerang have distanced themselves from this position, stating that " it is wrong to stir up religious tensions" and appeal to tolerance and peaceful religious coexistence, essential trait of Indonesia.
The permit itself took twenty-three years to obtain and, according to reports from the Jakarta Globe, this is not the first time the parish has met with similar persecution:
The parish has faced intolerance before. In 2004, protestors forced the church to relocate from the Sang Timur school in Ciledug. Protestors built a wall across a road, blocking access to the school. The wall still stands.

Persecution: The unreported catastrophe of our time

The persecution of Christians throughout the world is occurring with greater frequency every day, though you may not know if from what you see in the much of the media today.  Writing for The Spectator, John L. Allen, Jr. recently wrote on what he calls "the unreported catastrophe of our time":
Imagine if correspondents in late 1944 had reported the Battle of the Bulge, but without explaining that it was a turning point in the second world war. Or what if finance reporters had told the story of the AIG meltdown in 2008 without adding that it raised questions about derivatives and sub-prime mortgages that could augur a vast financial implosion?
Most people would say that journalists had failed to provide the proper context to understand the news. Yet that’s routinely what media outlets do when it comes to outbreaks of anti-Christian persecution around the world, which is why the global war on Christians remains the greatest story never told of the early 21st century.
Throughout the remained of the article, Allen, who is one of the few reporters actually paying attention to this tragedy, provides a country-by-country in various parts of the world, which is well worth reading.  After providing these accounts of an increasing global persecution over the past several years, Allen asks why this remains largely  unreported:
Why are the dimensions of this global war so often overlooked? Aside from the root fact that the victims are largely non-white and poor, and thus not considered ‘newsmakers’ in the classic sense, and that they tend to live and die well off the radar screen of western attention, the global war also runs up against the outdated stereotype of Christianity as the oppressor rather than the oppressed.
Say ‘religious persecution’ to most makers of cultured secular opinion, and they will think of the Crusades, the Inquisition, Bruno and Galileo, the Wars of Religion and the Salem witch trials. Today, however, we do not live on the pages of a Dan Brown potboiler, in which Christians are dispatching mad assassins to settle historical scores. Instead, they’re the ones fleeing assassins others have dispatched.
If you've ever attempted to alert others to the reality of what is happening to our brothers and sisters in so much of the world, you'll know he's correct.

Please, read the entire article, fast and pray for the persecuted, and help to spread the news.

The article is written in connection to the publication of Allen's latest book, The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution, which I hope to be able to find in Rome.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Islamists attack Christian village in northern Syria

A new wave of difficulties has befallen Christians living in the ancient city of Sednaya in northern Syria followed a raid by Islamists that left one man dead:
In yesterday’s raid a person died and one person was wounded among the local Christians. A religious from Sednaya , who requested anonymity, told Fides that "this is banditry but it is also a vendetta against Christians. We would not want to give a meaning to these acts of religious persecution, but they are targeted attacks that have the effect of creating confusion and fear among civilians". The tactic of armed gangs now is sudden raids that create terror among the civilian population, resulting in an exodus [more].
The Christians who have fled to Damascus have formed a "Committee" and lament the fact that most of the world pays them little attention: "We appeal strongly to the international community. Nobody helps us," said a representative to the Fides News Agency.  "Islamic radicalism is becoming more discriminatory. We feel unprotected. No one does anything to prevent these human right abuses: we ask the UN Commission in Geneva to intervene."

What is more, the situation for Christians in Syria is becoming increasingly difficult: