Minority Christians in Indonesia may have to celebrate Christmas quietly this year since Muslim hard-liners in the predominantly Muslim Southeast Asian country remain intolerant of such a celebration.
Last week, a Muslim group forced a church to end their preparation for their Christmas service, the Jakarta Globe reported. Members of a group called Defenders of Ahlus Sunnah (PAS) barged into a building serving as a church in Bandung, West Java on Tuesday last week. They found the members of the church choir practicing their Christmas carols and ordered them to stop singing and leave the building immediately.
The Muslim hard-liners also told the pastor to stop holding religious service inside the facility, saying it’s a public building, not a church.
The members of the church reportedly sang “Oh Holy Night” and prayed before leaving the premises.
A church source said the members of the church acceded to the demand of the Muslim group to avoid trouble despite the fact that they have all the required legal permits to hold services in the building.