From the most populous Muslim nation on earth…
The Banda Aceh region of Indonesia is best known to most Westerners as the main area devastated by the 2004 tsunami which killed hundreds of thousands.
Unfortunately for Christians in the predominantly Muslim nation, Banda Aceh is back in the news.
As reported by the Jakarta Globe, there have been “demands” from local Muslim groups that the government shutdown storefront Christian churches in the area.
As of last month, 16 have since been boarded up on orders from the Jakarta government.
A 300-strong mob stormed a Bethel-associated (Protestant) Christian three-story storefront church in Banda Aceh, smashing windows and destroying furniture on the first floor.
According to the Jakarta Globe, the 60 worshippers were on the 3d floor and due to the “quick response” of the local police, none of the Christians were harmed.
As quoted, the Banda Aceh Police Chief Muffan Mudji Kafanti stated:
“the attackers ransacked the place because the church members had not obtained permission to hold Mass in the store.”
Chief Muffan also stated:
“There are regulations if you want to make it a place of worship.
Local residents couldn’t accept it and wrecked it.”
Reportedly, despite an ongoing investigation, there have been no arrests.
However, the Bethel congregation is now suspected of illegally opening a place of worship without governmental approval.
Also, “12 of the Christians were taken to the police station for questioning.”