Police in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra, are dispatching 1,500 officers to guard churches in the province over the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Commissioner Hamam Wahyudi of the Medan Police told reporters: “The security operation has already started at every church. We’re also coordinating with the Mobile Brigade (riot police unit).”
Officials have said there is a heightened risk of attack in Indonesia, linked to the Islamic State movement, which is believed to have attracted several hundred Indonesians to join them so far.
North Sumatra has a majority-Muslim population, but also has a large Christian minority of around 30 per cent. Data from the Religious Affairs Ministry shows that, in 2008, the province had the largest number of Christian churches in the country, with almost 5,400 Protestant and nearly 1,700 Catholic churches.
Neighbouring Aceh province was the scene of several church attacks earlier this year.
- Pray for Indonesian Christians over this Christmas, for protection for them, their families and the churches, especially in North Sumatra.
- Pray for the witness of Christians in Indonesia over Christmas, that the truth of the Gift of Life in Jesus will be made known in this nation.
- Pray for the Indonesian Government to continue to protect Christian minority groups, despite pressure to the contrary.
Psalm 5 vs 11: “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.”