Saturday, September 16, 2006

Please Pray for these Indonesians

Please pray for Dr. Rebecca Laonita, Ratna Mala Bangun and Ety Pangesti as they continue their jail term after being charged in 2005 for evangelizing Muslim children. Whilst the parents of the Muslim children had given permission for their children to attend the Christian kid's program and none of the children had converted, elders in the Muslim community decided (for themselves and the parents) that these women should be charged for evangelizing under the Child Protection Act. Under normal circumstances, these charges would have been dropped as the children had permission to be in the program and none had become Christians, radical Muslim protestors in great numbers continually threatened the lives of the three women, the lawyers, judges and police involved in the case. Probably fearing for their lives and that of their families, the judges returned a guilty verdict and handed the three women each a sentence of three years imprisonment at Indramayu State Prison. What shocks me more is that these innocent women will spend more jail time than jihad inciter, Jemaah Islamiyah and MMI spiritual leader Abu Bakr Bashyir did for his involvement with the 2002 Bali Bombings. How can 3 mothers who teach religion class to kids get a longer sentence than a convicted terrorist?

Also, continue to pray for Tibo, Marianus and Dominggus who are scheduled to be executed for their part in the death of Muslims at the Wali Songo boarding school in Central Sulawesi. Evidence against these three men was fabricated and they are being used as scapegoats to appease the Muslim community. Again, huge pressure by large mobs of Muslim protestors during the intial lower court trial influenced the outcome of the verdict. If the judge had not sentenced them to death, the mobs would have surely attacked the court and adminstered their own version of justice on all involved. The three men continue to deny their participation in the attack and that they are not the masterminds of the attack. Evidence that shows their innocence and who the real masterminds and participants are was not admitted during the trial. Brijen Oegroseno began investigating the participants and has now been replaced by the National Police to thwart his attempts to get to the truth. It is believed that the real group of men that carried out the attack paid some money either to police or people from the prosecutors' office to gain the release of the gang and put blame on Tibo, Marianus and Dominggus. The three are currently waiting for their second clemency appeal, hoping that "all" evidence will be admitted in a new trial and the real attackers will be brought to justice. During this clemency appeal, violence has continued in Poso, Central Sulawesi against Christians by Muslims. Not suprisingly, no Muslims have been jailed yet for the massacre of thousands of Christians in Central Sulawesi. It appears that there is a general amnesty for all Muslims involved in the conflict. Probably because the army, police, Laskar Jihad and local Muslim politicians are all involved in the conflict. People like Drs H. Adnan Arsal, Drs Hasan Lasiata, Kasmad Lamuka, Aliansah Marro Tompo, Mukhatar Lapangasa, Yusup Dumo, Ahmad Laparigi, Daeng Raja, Mandor Pahe, Arief Patanga, Damsyik Ladjalani, Abdul Muin Pusadan, Omar al-Farouq and others.

These two cases show that justice for Christians can be influenced by Muslims outside and within the Indonesian Legal System and that Muslim enjoy preferential treatment compared to Christians.

And continue to pray for Pastor Luther Saragih, his wife and their congregation after their church was burned down in Aceh (see posting in September Archives). Pray that they be kept from harm and can return soon to lead this beacon of light and hope in the spiritual darkness of Syariat Islam Aceh Province.

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