Muslim Mob 'Terrorizes' Children in Indonesian Sunday School

Sherrie Gossett | Staff Writer | Monday, December 5, 2005

Muslim Mob 'Terrorizes' Children in Indonesian Sunday School

( - Approximately 30 Christian children fled in panic after a mob of Islamic militants raided and vandalized their Sunday school class, which was being held in a private home last weekend in Curug, Indonesia, according to a Christian group called Voice of the Martyrs (VOM).

The violence came less than a month after three teenaged Christian schoolgirls were attacked and beheaded as they walked through a cocoa plantation on their way to school. One girl's severed head was reportedly placed in front of a church, eight miles from where the bodies were found, in what locals viewed as a stark warning to Christians.

VOM reported that in the most recent incident, the mob "terrorized" the children at the Curug Sunday school class and destroyed several desks and chairs, guitars, a keyboard, organ and fan in the classroom. Voice of the Martyrs is a Christian organization that documents persecution of believers.

The children began to flee in panic, according to VOM, after which the mob then allegedly evicted the remaining adults and children from the home "by force" and "sealed" it by plastering posters denouncing the school over the doors of the building.

Glen Penner, spokesman for VOM, forwarded a detailed message he received about the incident to the Cybercast News Service .

The email quoted Peter Mendrofa, one of the Sunday school teachers as saying, "That incident was so quick. ... Some of them asked us to stop our Christian activities there while the rest were destroying our inventory inside the house."

Anton Neta, one of the Sunday school workers, said a few months ago that the Christian group signed an agreement with "local inhabitants" promising the house "would be emptied on January 1st 2006."

Neta said that despite the agreement the mob went ahead and raided the house anyway.

The Christian group has been using the house for religious activities since 1992. Sunday's reported raid was the first such incident against the home.

Local authorities in Indonesia are coming under increasing criticism for insisting that recent attacks in the area were due to political rather than religious motivations. However, the region has a long history of religious motivated violence. Others suggest that the two motives can't always be separated.

Julian Dobbs, New Zealand director of the humanitarian group, Barnabas Fund, returned this week from meeting with the families of the beheaded schoolgirls. Dobbs said that government officials and other leaders are "terrified by the more radical elements of Islam," resulting in persecution of Christians going unreported and unnoticed by western governments and much of the public.

The Barnabas Fund provides financial aid and prayer for persecuted Christians around the world.

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