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More than 1,000 Muslim protesters stormed a courthouse and burned churches in central Java, Indonesia, on February 8. The attacks in Temanggung happened after Antonius Richmond Bawengan, a Christian man, was sentenced to five years in jail for distributing leaflets deemed insulting to Islam. BBC News reported that Indonesian police said the crowd considered the sentence too lenient and were demanding the death penalty. A police spokesperson told BBC that the angry crowd began attacking the court building after the verdict was read.

At least three church buildings were vandalised. Indonesia Bethel Church was set ablaze. Part of the school building inside the church's property was burned, along with six motorbikes. Arsonists also burned Temanggung Pentecost Church. The extent of the damage has not yet been reported. Santo Petrus Catholic Church and Santo Paulus Catholic Church received damage to their doors and windows as the mob threw stones at them.

In early October 2010, Antionius handed out books and tracts with writings that are considered an insult to Muslims. He was arrested on October 26. He was found guilty of violating the Criminal Code on insulting Islam and received the maximum sentence for the offense -- five years in jail.

Pray for the Lord's protection to be upon this Christian man while he is in prison. Thank the Lord for his efforts in spreading the gospel. Pray he will have opportunities to be a witness for Christ even while in prison. Pray the Christian population in Indonesia continues to grow and unite in their love for Christ.

Learn more about the trials facing Christians in Indonesia at the Indonesia Country Report.

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
275,122,131 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Javanese (40.1), Sundanese (15.5), Malay (3.7), Balak (3.6), Madurese (3), Betawi (2.9), Minangkabau (2.7), Buginese (2.7), Bantenese (2), Other (23.8)

Religion (%)
Muslim (87.2), Christian (9.9), Hindu (1.7), Other (0.9), Unspecified (0.4)

Leader
President Joko Widodo (2014)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Civil law system based on the Roman-Dutch model and influenced by customary law

Sources: CIA World Factbook.

Pray for Indonesia

Pray for the continued growth of the church in Indonesia, despite the intense opposition and persecution that has taken place. May the destructive plans of the enemy to eradicate Christianity be frustrated and nullified.

Pray that whatever is intended for evil, God will turn around for good -- causing such hatred and violence to not only discredit extremism, but to also compel many to seek salvation in Christ... including the perpetrators of persecution.

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