Catholics from a church in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta have been accused of proselytism while distributing aid packages to the local mostly Muslim community, Catholic news agency UCAN reports.
The packages, containing basic necessities and healthcare, were delivered to locals as part of a programme to celebrate the elevation of the Catholic community’s St. Paul’s Church from a missionary work station to a parish.
However, they were confronted by a group of local Muslims, who claimed that through their social work the Catholics were attempting to convert people to Christianity.
The group’s spokesman stated that after similar aid programmes, other areas saw a decrease in Muslim numbers due to proselytism.
The Catholics have been forced to halt their work, although they denied their aim was to convert people.
The parishioners were told that no church social work should be done outside of the church compound and that they should not go near Muslim communities.
Agustinus Edi Nugroho, coordinator of the programme, told UCAN: “There was no proselytisation. The social work was supposed to purely help local villagers. We cancelled the programme as it could create conflict.”
Police were involved in settling the dispute.