On 17 January, a mob of at least 100 people, armed with machetes and clubs, attacked the Filadelfia Pentecostal Assembly Church (GSPDI) in the Kampar regency, Indonesia. The violence took place after the Sunday service. No one was injured, but all of the church equipment was destroyed.
“The church members of Filadelfia had received threats since December 2015. The warning was particularly directed to churchgoers who came from outside the village,” explained the Head of Assembly of GSPDI Riau, Rev. Ronald*. Despite the threats, the congregation continued to attend worship services, saying that ‘they were ready to die for it’.
Rev. Ronald has filed the case to the local police with the hope of finding justice. “We are fighting back by continuing to worship in our church,” he said. Filadelfia is the only GSPDI church available in the area and is the place of worship for 700 Christians.
Since the New Year, the Civil Service Police Unit (Satpol PP) have tried three times to destroy tents being used for worship by church-goers in Aceh Singkil after their buildings were demolished three months ago. These attempts have been unsuccessful after Satpol PP failed to show an official instruction letter from the Regency Chief.
Indonesia is in the top 50 worst countries for Christians to practise their faith, according to the 2016 Open Doors World Watch List. Christians face persecution from local Islamists as well as the regional authorities. Based on a ministerial decree, worship houses in Indonesia must operate with a building permit, which has led to the closure and destruction of many churches.
*Name changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors
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