Angry mob attacks Indonesian churches

February 21, 2011


Soldiers stand guard outside a church that was attacked by a mob in Temanggung, Indonesia, Feb. 8.

An angry mob attacked three Christian churches, including a Catholic parish, and a Catholic-run school in Central Java in Indonesia.

The attacks Feb. 8 came after a court sentenced a Christian writer to the maximum five years in prison for violating the country's blasphemy law.

Author Antonius Bawengan, 58, was convicted of insulting Islam in books and articles he published in October.

More than 1,000 Muslims gathered outside the court after the sentencing demanding that Bawengan be sentenced to death.

The crowd then marched to Sts. Peter and Paul Church and vandalized vehicles in the parking lot before storming the church and desecrating the interior, Archbishop Johannes Pujasumarta of Semarang said.

Police arrived and prevented the mob from torching the church.

Two Protestant churches and a Catholic school also were attacked, he said.