Roman Catholic worshippers pray at a mass cemetery during Holy Week in Larantuka, Indonesia’s Flores island April 2, 2010*.
Noone will disagree that a big amount of the violence we see every day is a result of religious fanaticism. It’s always disturbing to see supporters of religions that promote love and understanding, to engage in violent acts in order to “protect their beliefs”. Two stories from last week that caught my eye, among dozens more similar that unfortunately took place.
- In Crete, Greece a bomb went off outside a Muslim cultural center last Friday. This building was used as a prayer site for Muslims in the area. Earlier this year there were two arson attacks against a synagogue on the same island.
- In Bogor, Indonesia, a team of 200 islamists disrupted the Roman Catholic service of Good Friday which was taking place in a makeshift chapel. Roman Catholics are a minority in the predominantly Muslim nation of Indonesia.
“Some 200 young people came to our makeshift chapel and asked us to stop our prayers, which actually were already done. We were terrified, but after they negotiated with our church leaders, the group agreed to move their protest to the Parung district office,” Gabriel said. […] a miscommunication forced them to move the venue again to a restaurant owned by a church member.
“It’s not the first time the group has staged a protest. Protests also occurred during Easter celebrations in 2008 and Christmas services in 2009,” [church member] Gabriel said.
There were 139 cases of violation of the freedom to worship in Indonesia in 2009, according to the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace.
*Worshippers visited five churches to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the discovery of the Tuan Ma (Mother Mary) statue. They believe the statue, which was founded in Flores in 1510, formed the basis of the religion that has replaced animism on the island. Government data in 2008 showed that more than 80 percent of residents on Flores Island are Roman Catholic in a predominantly Muslim country.
Photo from Reuters Pictures