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Muslim mobs attack three Java churches

Anger erupts after Christian writer jailed for allegedly insulting Islam

A church that was destroyed A church that was destroyed
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • February 9, 2011
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Angry mobs yesterday attacked three Christian churches and a Catholic-run school in Temanggung district in Central Java.

The attacks came after a court jailed a Christian writer for five years for blasphemy.

Antonius Richmond Bawengan was convicted of insulting Islam in books and articles he published in October.

Angry Muslims then marched on Sts. Peter and Paul Church and vandalized vehicles in the parking lot before storming the church and desecrating the interior, Archbishop Johannes Maria Trilaksyanta Pujasumarta of Semarang told ucanews.com today.

He said police arriving on the scene prevented the mob from burning the church down.

Two Protestant churches and a Catholic school were also attacked, the archbishop said.

“The situation has now calmed down,” the prelate said.

He expressed hope that the incident had taught people that such a violent act is not a smart solution to resolve a problem and appealed for calm.

“I ask all parties to show restraint so violence will not re-occur, and that they will not use violence to resolve future problems,” he said.

Archbishop Pujasumarta also called on the media to report on the events responsibly because “false news can create negative public opinion.”

Meanwhile, Father Antonius Benny Susetyo, executive secretary of the Bishops’ Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, claimed the attackers were not locals.

“People in the region are at peace. The region is not an area of conflict,” he told ucanews.com.

One man has reportedly been arrested for his alleged involvement in the attacks.

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