Four Christians were murdered on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia this past Friday. The killers also burned a Salvation Army post and several Christian homes.
Human rights groups are calling the attack an escalation of hostility against the Christian minority in Indonesia, while other witnesses denied the attacks were religiously motivated. Police are hunting down those responsible for the murders.
Bruce Allen says Christian leaders in the area learned of the attack hours after it happened. He says violence like this isn’t common in the country. “For the most part, Indonesia is a fairly moderate Muslim majority nation. But the persecution there occurs in pockets on different islands, and it’s difficult to rein it in simply because there are over 6,000 inhabited islands in Indonesia. This attack was [carried out], from what we understand from our partners on the ground, by a group called the Mujahedeen of East Indonesia.”
Effects on the congregation
Allen says this small Christian congregation meets to worship in homes, not an official church building. Six of these families had their homes burned in the attack. Allen says, “Other remaining Christians who were eyewitnesses to the attack ended up fleeing into the forest. One young child even made his way to another village to alert the people in that village of the incident and to seek help.”
After the attack, Allen says Christians who fled the violence have returned. “They’re burying the dead. They’re crying, they’re praying, they’re singing. But it is a difficult few days for them. And so we just want to alert the global family of Christ. Brothers and sisters are weeping and we need to weep with them.”
Pray these Indonesian Christians would find strength and hope in Jesus, who has defeated death. Pray also the attackers would be brought to justice, and that violence against Christians would end in Indonesia.