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Catholic students praying rosary attacked in Indonesia

Two female students injured while participating in the traditional house to house service in a Jakarta suburb
A video grab of Muslims preventing Catholic students from conducting rosary service on May 5.

A video grab of Muslim residents attacking Catholic students during a rosary service in a suburb of Jakarta on May 5. (Photo: X)


Published: May 06, 2024 11:30 AM GMT
Updated: May 06, 2024 11:38 AM GMT

Catholic students in Indonesia have been assaulted by Muslim residents who objected to their praying rosary in a residential area on the outskirts of the capital Jakarta.

Muslim residents in Banten province, a suburb of Jakarta, mobbed the 12 Catholic students at Pamulang University in South Tangerang city while they were conducting the traditional rosary service from house to house on May 5.

Office-bearers of the residential association objected to the prayer service, said Siprianus Edi Hardum, a Catholic lawyer who is extending legal help to the students.

"As a result, two female students were injured and one Muslim man was manhandled for defending the students," said Hardum.

One of the injured female students said that they were stopped by the head of the neighborhood association who asked them not to worship at home, but at church.

"He said to us, 'If you want to pray, please go to church, like we Muslims worship in the mosque,'" she said.

The man then left and returned with a mob who attacked the students. The victims were saved from further harm only because other Muslims came to their rescue.

The video of the incident went viral on social media on May 6. 

South Tangerang police spokesperson Alvino Cahyadi said they are investigating the case and would seek out witnesses to the incident, including local community leaders.

Praying the rosary from house to house is traditionally held in May and October in Indonesia. 

"People who disturb those who are praying are destroying Indonesia as a democratic country," Hardum said while expressing gratitude to Muslims who helped save the students.

Prayer services of minority groups often get disrupted in Indonesia, which is predominantly Muslim.

On Aug. 15 last year, Tanjungkarang District Court in Lampung Province on Sumatra Island sentenced a Muslim man to three months in prison for disrupting a Protestant worship service by citing a controversial government decree governing houses of worship.

During Christmas in 2022, the Lebak district head in Banten province prohibited Christians from holding celebrations in the area, which does not have a church.

Residents and officials banned the Bethlehem Batak Protestant Church in Batu Gede in West Java province from holding Christmas services in 2022 inside their homes.

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