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“Muslims with Machete, Club Halt Worship in Indonesia,” Morning Star News, September 5, 2023:
SURABAYA, Indonesia (Morning Star News) – A machete-wielding Muslim threatened to kill members of a house church in Indonesia as he and family members on Aug. 29 broke up a worship service, sources said.
In West Sumatra Province, the Sola Gratia congregation of Bethel Indonesia Church (Gereja Bethel Indonesia, or GBI) was meeting the evening of Aug. 29 in a rented house in Jalan Banuaran, Banuaran Nan XX village, Lubuk Begalung Sub-District, in Padang, when a Muslim woman broke the home’s windows with stones and told those inside to stop worshiping, the church pastor said.
Pastor Hiatani Ziduhu Hia told outlet radarsumbar.com that the woman claimed she was the owner of the house in the attack at about 8:35 p.m.
Later the woman’s husband came to the house with a machete, accompanied by another man with a wooden club. Brandishing the machete, the Muslim shouted at the congregation that he was going to cut their throats into pieces and told them to stop worshiping, Pastor Hiatani reportedly said.
“We continued to pray,” the pastor told radarsumbar.com., adding that the husband later returned and continued demanding that they cease worship.
“We stayed calm, trying to explain the situation to them,” Pastor Hiatani said. “But they didn’t pay attention to us.”
The woman, later identified as relative of the landlord, claimed that the church could not worship in “her home,” the pastor said.
“We know that the owner of the house is not her, because we pay someone else,” Pastor Hiatani said. “Those who receive our money also know that we occasionally use the place for worship. The head of the neighborhood already knows about our activities. As for the perpetrators, we know that they are the relatives of the house owners, not the house owner.”
The house tenant, Juni Anton Zai, told BBC News Indonesia that 20 congregation members were holding a worship service when they heard the screaming woman approach from the backyard and break the windows.
“We were shocked, and our worship was dismissed,” Juni told BBC News. “My son was shocked. The mother screamed, and we canceled our worship.”
He and the rest of the congregation ran out of the house, Juni said. Later the woman, her husband and their two younger siblings returned, with the husband telling them that they could not worship there because it was “our parents’ house,” he said.
Juni offered to sit down and discuss the matter calmly, but they refused, he said.
“Instead of having a nice talk, they threatened us,” Juni said. “His younger brother was also carrying a machete; he scared us. After that, his younger brother came. He came bringing a wooden club. He wanted to hit my little brother, who was sitting on the motorbike.”
In a video of the attack uploaded onto social media on Aug. 30, the assailants claim that they were entitled to the house and had a right to know the tenants’ activities, according to Kompass.com.
Pastor Hiatani said it was the first disruption of a church service at the venue, and that they reported it to Padang Police….