ASIA/INDONESIA - Christians alarm: forbidden to celebrate Christmas in Java
Bogor (Agenzia Fides) - Thanks to an unfortunate alliance between the civil authorities and Islamic extremist groups, the Catholic faithful of the Church of St. John the Baptist in Parung, south of Jakarta (in the Diocese of Bogor), cannot celebrate Christmas Mass.
A garrison of Islamic extremists appeared a few days near the church. A banner reads ominously: "We, the Muslim people of Parung, support and will put into practice the decree of Regent No 453.2/556, which orders to stop the religious activities of the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist".
Local sources of Fides confirm that the Regency of Bogor (administrative unit) has issued an order "prohibiting Christians public religious activities " and, in fact, does not allow the Christians to celebrate Christmas, citing "security reasons".
"It is a story that repeats itself and that also took place last year when we celebrated Christmas in a parking lot," says a Catholic from Parung to Fides. The faithful are scared of violence and fear those who approach the church.
Christmas celebrations and any public expression of religion will not be allowed, even to the "Indonesian Christian Church" (Gereja Kristen Indonesia, GKI) in Bogor. The GKI, Protestant denomination with a strong presence on the island of Java, continues its struggle for the rule of law: though having received regular approval to build a church in Bogor, the realization of the work is hindered by the Islamic militants and also by the Mayor of Bogor, Diani Budiarto, who issued an order revoking the permit (see Fides 23/07/2011).
The unfavorable climate towards Christians also extends to the churches already built. Fr. Emanuel Harja, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) in Indonesia, explains to Fides: "There is unrest in the area of West Java for the presence of Islamic militants Defenders Front (FPI).
During 2011 there have been several incidents of violence. For many in the Christian communities the right to worship and practice their faith is severely limited or denied. Extremist groups are small but strong, and would only like an Islamic nation and to impose the Sharia law. But this goes against the Constitution, against the Pancasila (the five basic principles of the country) and against pluralism that is a fundamental character of Indonesia.
The authorities have the obligation to stop them, but sometimes this does not happen". The PMS National Director concludes: "We express our solidarity to the Christians in Bogor. A road that can be taken to try to overcome the problem is dialogue and interaction between Christian and Muslim leaders, to desist extremists from their intentions " . (PA) (Agenzia Fides 21/12/2011)
By: Ignatius Ismartono
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By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
July 02, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- The truth has been turned on its head in Libya. NATO and the Libyan government are saying contradictory things. NATO says that the Libyan regime will fall in a matter of days, while the Libyan government says that the fighting in Misrata will end in about two weeks.
During the night the sound of NATO jets flying over Tripoli can be heard in the Mediterranean coastal city. Tripoli has not been bombed for a few days, but the sound of the flyovers have been numerous. The Atlantic Alliance deliberately picks the night as a means to disturb the sleep of residence in an attempt to spread fear. Small children in Libya have lost a lot of sleep during this war. This is part of the psychological war being waged. It is meant to break the spirit of Libya. This is all additional to the severing wound imposed on Libya through trickery and sedition.
In the same context, the media war against Libya has continued too. The Rixos Hotel in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, where the majority of the international press is located, is a nest of lies and warped narratives where foreign reporters are twisting realities, spinning events, and misreporting to justify the NATO war against Libya. Every report and news wire being sent out of Libya by international reporters has to carefully be cross-checked and analyzed. Foreign journalists have put words in the mouth of Libyans and are willfully blind. They have ignored the civilian deaths in Libya, the clear war crimes being perpetrated against the Libyan people, and the damage to civilian infrastructure, from hotels to docks and hospitals.
One group of Libyan youth explained in a private conversation that when speaking to reporters they would interview in twos. One would ask a question followed immediately by another one. In the process the answer to the first question would be used as the answer for the second question. In the Libyan hospitals the foreign reports try not to take pictures of the wounded and dying. They just go into the hospitals to paint the image of impartiality, but virtually report about nothing and ignore almost everything newsworthy. They refuse to tell the other side of the story. Shamelessly in front of seriously injured civilians, the type of questions many foreign reporters ask doctors, nurses, and hospital staff is if they have been treating military and security personnel in the hospitals.
CNN has even released a report from Misrata by Sara Sidner showing the sodomization of a woman with a broomstick which was conducted by Libyan soldiers (which it refers to as Qaddafi troops as a means of demonization). In reality the video was a domestic affair and from prior to the conflict. It originally took place in Tripoli and the man even has an accent from Tripoli. This is the type of fabrications that the mainstream media is pushing forward to push for war and military intervention.
There are now investigations underway to show that depleted uranium has been used against Libyans. The use of depleted uranium is an absolute war crime. It is not only an attack on the present, but it also leaves a radioactive trace that attacks the unborn children of tomorrow. Future generations will be hurt by these weapons too. These generations of the future are innocent. The use of depleted uranium is the equivalent of the U.S. planting nuclear weapons in Germany or Japan during the Second World War and leaving timers for them to detonate in 2011. This is an important and newsworthy issue in Libya and all the foreign journalists have heard about it, but how many have actually covered it?
The Ionis, a ship from Benghazi that docked in Tripoli on June 26, 2011, was carrying over 100 people who wanted to leave Benghazi to be unified with their families in Tripoli. Foreign reports were there en masse from all over the world. CNN, RT, and Reuters were amongst them. Amongst the foreign reports there were many who had no clue about the situation in Libya and were working on the basis of misinformation carried forward from their respective stations and countries. In informal discussion when these reporters were challenged about the basis of their assessments they failed to answer and sounded ridiculous. One reporter from Western Europe said that the defections at the governmental level in Tripoli where snowballing, but when challenged by a colleague she could only cite the so-called defection of a Libyan athlete.
The arrival of the passenger ship was significant, because it is a symptom that the political partition of Libya is underway. When families and individuals are being shuttled to different sides of Libya, it is an indicator that some sort of dividing line will be drawn either temporarily or permanently.
The Roman Catholic Church in Libya has also been disrupted and hurt. The position of Father Giovanni Martinelli, the Bishop of Tripoli, is in contradiction to that of the U.S. and NATO. Contact has been lost with the Roman Catholic churches and communities in Benghazi and its environs. Bishop Martinelli has also lost dear friends in the war who have nothing to do whatsoever with any combat or hostility. What have foreign journalists and news agencies said about this?
Journalists have a responsibility to tell the truth and report all newsworthy issues. Some do, but their stories either get edited or never get published or aired. Others say nothing and instead concoct stories. It is now the responsibility of the public to look at the reports coming out of Libya from all sides with a grain of salt. Diversity of news is just one starter.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya Canadian-based sociologist and scholar. Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), specializing in geopolitical and strategic issues.
Copyright © Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, 2011