An Indonesian church’s Christmas celebrations were stopped on 6 Dec. by members of a local Islamist group in Bandung, who protested that such services should take place in a church, not a public space.
The mayor of Bandung, capital of the West Java province, wrote on his official Instagram account: “I apologized, physically I cannot attend all locations. I have instructed officials to secure the event by phone… I have coordinated, continue the activities as your religious rights are protected by the state.”
The incident occurred at a time of growing tension in the country, amidst a recent spate of terrorism-related attacks and arrests.
On 27 November, a suspect was arrested with bomb-making materials in West Java. The suspect was thought to have been planning attacks on police headquarters, television stations and foreign embassies.
“It was a warning and they wanted big effect,” said a spokesman from the national police.
On 10 December, two men and a woman were arrested for allegedly plotting a bomb attack on the State Palace in the capital, Jakarta. Police said they had found 3kg of home-made bombs.
Then, yesterday morning (13 Dec.), seven young children were stabbed during an attack on a public school in the East Nusa Tenggara province. The children, aged between eight and 11, were all rushed to hospital. The attacker was arrested and later allegedly beaten to death by local residents who outnumbered police.
Yesterday also saw the start of the trial of the Christian Governor of Jakarta, known as ‘Ahok’, who is accused of blasphemy after an apparently edited video of him appearing to quote the Qur’an went viral. He strongly denies that he intended to insult Islam. His next hearing will be on 20 Dec.
Sources: The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Globe