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Militants attack Christian church in Indonesia

Police under fire over slow response to prayer service assault

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
Indonesia

June 3, 2014

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A Christian church in Indonesia was attacked by stone-throwing Islamic hardliners on Sunday, the second violent act against Christians in Yogyakarta's Sleman district in less than a week.

No one was injured in the attack, which occurred after congregants had left the building following Sunday's service, police said. The Pentecostal church's glass windows were smashed.

Members of several Islamic hardline groups claimed responsibility, but said they attacked the structure because it lacked the necessary building permits to operate as a house of worship.

"The reason is not related to worship. We attacked the church because it has no building permit," Turmudzi, a board member of the Majelis Ta'lim Al Huda told The Jakarta Post.

In the earlier incident, on May 29, seven people were injured during two separate attacks on a Catholic prayer service in Sleman district.

Indonesian activists criticized the police's slowness in responding to that attack even though a suspect  has been named.

Police said they are investigating the incident and are in the process of interrogating 15 people.

"The police work too slow. This case has the potential to make the situation worse. If it's not resolved immediately, it can spark more anarchic acts," Natalius Pigai, spokesman for the National Commission on Human Rights, told ucanews.com on Tuesday.

"What we need now is that the police move fast so that perpetrators can't do similar things in the future," Pigai said.

The Association of Journalists for Diversity has called on police to reveal the motive for the attacks on the Catholic prayer service.

However, National Police spokesman Ronny F Sompie told ucanews.com that police are "still collecting information".

"The police do their job professionally. We will keep trying to resolve the case," he said.

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