Indonesian president condemns attack on Christian leaders
Sep 14, 2010, 9:15 GMT
Jakarta - Indonesia's president on Tuesday condemned an attack on Christian leaders in West Java and ordered authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.
'Our priority is to seek and find the perpetrators and prosecute them according to the exiting laws,' Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said.
'The law should be enforced, especially regarding sensitive issues, including the relationship among religious believers,' he was quoted by the state-run Antara news agency as saying after meeting with the senior minister on security and the national police chief.
A church leader was stabbed Sunday by attackers on a motorcycle and a reverend was hit on the head with a plank of wood while they were en route to a service in the Bekasi district, just east of Jakarta.
Yudhoyono urged dialogue to resolve disputes over the place of worship for the Huria Christian Batak Protestant congregation, whose leaders were injured Sunday.
'I hope the related ministers, the governor of West Java, regent of Bekasi, religious leaders, certainly of the Indonesian Church Association as well as other elements, sit together with good intentions and soon find a good solution acceptable by all parties,' the president said.
The national police chief, General Bambang Hendarso Danuri, said nine people had been named as suspects in the attacks. The congregation had been forced to pray in an open field after their church was closed by local authorities over a land dispute.
Alleged Muslim hardliners raided a religious service and injured several people last month.
More than 88 per cent of Indonesia's 240 million people adheres to the Islamic faith, but the government is secular. The constitution guarantees freedom of religion for six major faiths.