Indonesia: Christians in Christian-Majority Papua Province Increasingly Under Threat

March 31, 2019

Christians in general are a tiny minority in this massive nation, but Papua Province is 80% Christian. There is a small and courageous community of Orthodox Christians in Indonesia, numbering around 2500 people. All the Christians there are more threatened now than ever before. Christians face increasing discrimination and persecution, and even worse, this persecution and discrimination is popular among many Indonesians. Please beseech our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that this persecution would be decisively repudiated and ended in Indonesia.

“Christians in Indonesia’s Papua Province Increasingly Under Threat,” by Gina Goh, International Christian Concern, March 27, 2019:

03/27/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – In predominantly Muslim Indonesia, its largest and easternmost province, Papua, a place where over 80% of the population identifies as Christian, stands in stark contrast to the rest of the country which holds the world’s largest population of Muslims.

Blessed by missionaries from the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States with the Gospel, the resource-rich region, however, has long suffered from economic inequality, lack of development, and human rights abuses from Jakarta. It continues to be the country’s least developed and most impoverished area.

Now, Christianity in this region is also increasingly threatened as the influence of Islam grows. The number of Muslims and mosques particularly in cities has increased, especially in Jayapura district. Many old mosques are demolished and rebuilt with taller minarets to overshadow nearby churches.

On February 27, with samurai swords in their hands, a gang of six led by a controversial Muslim cleric ransacked a Christian man’s home for playing Christian music at dawn as a nearby Islamic boarding school was observing morning prayer.

Ja’far Umar Thalib, the cleric who runs Ihya As-Sunnah Islamic boarding school in Muara Tami district, allegedly barged into the home of Henock Niki around 5:30 a.m. with several sword-wielding followers dressed in white.

“The perpetrators then severed the cables of the victim’s speakers. They told him that the loud music was disturbing worshipers in the mosque,” national police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo told reporters in Jakarta. Other news outlets also reported that the mob went on to damage the speakers and injure the man’s 14-year-old son.

According to Dedi, Henock told the attackers that the morning prayer was at 4:15 a.m., which should have been over by that time. They subsequently fled south in a minibus.

The attack on Henock’s house drew protests from local residents who immediately took action to block the road to stop the perpetrators from fleeing. Residents reported the incident to the police and asked them to arrest the mob.

The police were able to apprehend the suspects and secure evidence from the scene, including five samurai swords, several long machetes, and a number of media materials from Laskar Jihad, Thalib’s radical Islamic organization…