A local village official in Indonesia stopped a church service on Sunday (Feb. 19) in what became a mob intrusion, sources said.
On western Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, the head of the Rukun Tetangga area of Rajabasa Jaya village, Wawan Kurniawan, leaped over a metre-high fence to intrude into the worship service of the Tabernacle of David Christian Church (Gereja Kristen Kemah Daud, or GKKD), sources said. The village is in the southeast corner of the island in Bandar Lampung Regency, Lampung Province.
A video of the incident shows Wawan pushing away a pastor who tries to speak with him as the leader and a congregation member tell him they are in “a house of God” and are only praying.
Ignoring the objections of church members and leaders, Wawan takes the pulpit and motions with his hand that the service is over. Some Christian women are later seen telling him, “Be patient, be patient, sir,” and Wawan appears to call someone “stupid.”
A member of the congregation, Lina Sinambela, told Suara.com that Wawan threatened to bring in more people if the worship did not stop.
“He threatened with harsh words, asking the congregation who were worshipping to dissolve,” Lina Sinambela said. “[He said] if it doesn’t, more people would be brought in, and then he threatened to weld [shut] the church gate.”
More area residents did arrive, she said.
“It happened suddenly,” she reportedly said. “A group of approximately 10 residents came to the church location and jumped off the fence asking for the service to be dissolved.”
Parlin Sihombing, chairman of the GKKD Church Construction Committee, told Suara.com that someone from the mob choked the pastor’s throat and told the congregation to leave.
“A resident came straight into the church and climbed onto the pulpit and choked the pastor,” Parlin Sihombing reportedly said. “The pastor suffered from a slight scar on his hand because he was trying to defend himself. The atmosphere was tense, and finally the congregation dispersed, and today we reported it to the authorities.”
Wawan later told local media outlet IDNTimes that he only meant to ask the congregation to refrain from worshipping there until they obtain a permit for their building.
“This is not a new problem,” he told the outlet, saying the village head supports his actions. “They have been carrying out worship activities there since 2014 even though there was no permit.”
Wawan said church Pastor Naek Siregar on Dec. 10, 2016, signed a statement pledging not to use the building until the church had a permit, according to IDNTimes.
The outlet said the church has not met requirements to obtain a permit, but Parlin Sihombing told IDNTimes the congregation met requirements in their application. The church, whose building was constructed in 2009, applied for a permit for a place of worship in 2014, but officials have not responded, he said. Continue reading
Source – Morning Star News