What Happened To ‘Coexist’? Indonesian Army Sparks Riot By Burning Bibles

Acting on government orders, the Indonesian Army launches a violent riot last month when their commander ordered the burning of a large number of Christian Bibles, so says a major church in Papua province in Indonesia. The riot rocked the provincial capital last month after the military had completed the burning of the Holy books.

The disclosure by the Christian churches pastor contradicted the police account of events. According to the report by the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua, a priest and another man from a local congregation, both of whom wished to remain anonymous, took photos of burnt Bibles at a military base in Jayapura. The two men also managed to remove several of the partially burned books as evidence of the dastardly deed performed at the hands of the heathen Muslims.

The report says the two men tried to calm the crowd that gathered outside the base on May 25th after reports of Bible burning spread on social media. But their efforts did little to calm the crowd. At the time, police said soldiers burned rubbish and distributed photos of a burned book on theology that they annotated with text saying “this is not the Bible.”

Police said that during the riots, at least three protesters suffered gunshot wounds when police tried to disperse the crowd. The Papua region is a heavily Christian region one of only a few in the Muslim dominated country. For years, the Muslims and Christians have lived relitively peacefully side by side. But in recent years, Christians have been singled out for “special” treatment.

Sources there say that even everyday life has gotten harder. One preacher there told me that it took them almost three years to get a special permit to repair the roof on their church following a fire. Recent construction laws forbid almost all new church construction or repairs without the consent of a special commission. Permitting of such construction can take several years under the new laws.

R.L. Grimes

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