Papua Indonesia: From Mission Field to Killing Field
ICC Note: The following article is an excellent summary of the developing tragedy in West Papua Indonesia. The author, Elizabeth Kendal, shows how religious discrimination against the native and largely Christian population of West Papua is intertwined with politics and Islamic colonization of the island. News of events in West Papua are typically shaded in political overtones and the Indonesian government has been quick to deny any wrongdoing despite mounting evidence that severe violence, some of it instigated by Indonesian authorities, is taking place.
6/18/2013 Indonesia (CIC) - In the 1950s, missionaries working with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) USA and Australia brought the Gospel to the central highlands of the then Dutch New Guinea (the western part of the island of New Guinea). Since then, Indonesia has invaded, occupied, annexed, Islamized, militarized and colonized the region.
Today, the indigenous, predominantly Christian Melanesians of Papua are a suffering and dying people. Like so many persecuted minorities in strategic 'swing' states, Papuans find their appalling plight being covered up and whitewashed by powerful forces engaged in 'realpolitik', the amoral politics of money and power. As long as Indonesia is a geo-strategically important nation, it will not be in any government's 'interests' to do anything for the Papuans. However, our God is a God 'who pleads the cause of his people' and acts! (See Isaiah 51:21-23; Proverbs 22:22,23; and Lamentations 3:55-58).
Selpius Bobii is the General Chairperson of Front Pepera (The United Front for the Struggle of the People of Papua). He is a political prisoner, one of the 'Jayapura Five' arrested in the violent military crackdown on the Third Papuan People's Congress in October 2011 (see RLPB 131, 26 Oct 2011). According to Bobii, 'The main means of annihilation are overt and covert military operations carried out by the Republic of Indonesia.' The extreme ethnic and religious hatred that many Javanese Muslim soldiers have for tribal Melanesian Christians fuels the most appalling human rights abuses. On the Internet, there is video of Indonesian soldiers torturing and brutally killing Papuans they abuse as 'kaffir' (infidels). Furthermore, the introduction of strong alcohol, worm-infested pork, AIDS-infected prostitutes and compulsory 'family planning' are all hastening the decline of the dispirited, indigenous population. On top of all this, Indonesia's policy of transmigration (encouraging Javanese Muslims to settle in the Christian regions of eastern Indonesia) ensures the indigenous Papuans' demographic demise. As Bobii notes, researchers at both Yale University, USA, and Sydney University, Australia, have concluded that what is happening in Papua is genocide.
On 21 February 2013, after Indonesia refused to heed community appeals and stop building military outposts on a sacred burial site, Papua independence guerrilla fighters took up arms and resisted. Eight Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) soldiers and four non-Papuan civilians were killed in the clash. Thousands of Indonesian security forces subsequently flooded in to 'sweep' the communities around Puncak Jaya in the western central highlands. By 26 February at least 18 houses and five GIDI churches [Evangelical Church of Indonesia], two schools and a library in Tingginambut had been razed by the combined police and military forces. Thousands of Papuan civilians have fled into the bush. Evidence is emerging of massacres. Dozens of Papuan civilians are reported to have been plucked from their homes, schools, gardens and churches to be raped, tortured, mutilated, dismembered and decapitated. Despite photographic evidence, the Indonesian government is dismissing the reports of killings and disappearances as 'rumours' and propaganda. Yet according to credible reports (27 May), at least 41 Papuan civilians are dead with some 30 missing. Six of the dead were village chiefs and social leaders (including at least one pastor) who had been invited to attend the 9 April inauguration of new Papua Governor Lukas Enembe in Jayapura. They were intercepted, tortured and killed while returning home.
PAKISTAN: Family Pressured to Compromise Charges
Sources: Legal Evangelical Association Development, Assist News Service, Strategic World Impact
According to the Legal Evangelical Association Development (LEAD), a and advocacy group, Fouzia Bibi of Village Roday (District of Kasur) was a victim of sexual assault. During the early evening of January 25th, 2013, 15-year-old Fouzia was bringing milk to the landlord from one of his nearby cattle areas. Along the way, two Muslims armed with pistols, Sher Muhammad and Shabir Ali, reportedly abducted and imprisoned her in a room. The alleged assailants then brutally raped and tortured her. No one could hear the cries of the victimized Christian girl who was left unconscious.
The girl’s father, Malooka Masih, notified National Director LEAD Advocate Sardar Mushtaq Gill on May 24th that a bail hearing had been filed in Lahore’s High Court for the alleged perpetrators. Prior to this, the victim’s cousin, Alam Ashiq, was helping the Christian family throughout the ordeal. However, Fouzia’s father was recently notified that those accused of the rape had
enlisted law enforcement cooperation from the city of Muridkey. This has resulted in Alam being arrested for involvement in “a case” (details not known), which was registered against “unknown people” about six months ago. Using Alam as a lever, law enforcement officials are pressuring the family to compromise on the charges so that bail can be granted to the alleged rapists.
Representative Sardar Mushtaq Gill appeared before a deputy superintendent of police in Muridkey in an attempt to advocate for justice in the case. He said it is a common occurrence for complainants to be pressurized by a variety of different tactics, including making them allegedly involved in unspecified crimes with the intent of bringing about “compromise.” Read about other cases of injustice at the Pakistan Country Report.
First of all, let’s lift up in prayer young Fouzia who has been violated and traumatized by the violent assault. May our compassionate Saviour minister greatly needed comfort and healing in her life. Also pray for Fouzia’s devastated family who are not only concerned for her well-being but now also must contend with the injustice and manipulation of law enforcement officers. Ask for God’s mighty intervention in the situation…granting wisdom to the family’s legal representatives, favour with the court officials, dismissal of the false charges against Alam, required disciplinary for the perpetrators, and an extra measure of strength and spiritual encouragement for the entire family. (We invite you your prayers on our prayer wall.)
LAOS: Christian Families Face Expulsion for Their FaithSource: Release International
Families in two villages have been asked to leave their homes and resettle elsewhere because they have turned to Christ. Village chief Keang Khean of north-central Laos has asked all Christians to leave immediately. Tensions are high in the village, which is located in the Chomphet district of Luang Prabang province. Meanwhile, three families in the village of Sanam have been given official notice that they should leave, after experiencing two years of persecution. The 18 members of the Ser, Taam and Thong families had their papers confiscated last year and still have not had them returned.
Prayer has also been requested for a Laos Country Report. church in the Hom district of Vientiane province. The four families who founded this church came to Christ after a woman was healed of a serious illness in 2005 when a pastor prayed for her. The families had been attending a church which was a six-mile away, but decided to begin a house church in their own village, a congregation that has since grown to include 16 families. However, these believers have faced stiff opposition from others in the village, including accusations that their worship creates disharmony. On one occasion, a police officer threatened them with violence unless they recanted their faith. For more information on the suffering of Christians in Laos, go to the
Thank God for the resilience and courage of these Christian families who are risking everything as they bear witness of God’s love. May many others be drawn to Christ as a result. Pray for the officials who are demanding these believers to leave their villages…that they will realize how Christianity can serve to actually bring about positive changes to their communities, rather than discord.