JAKARTA, INDONESIA (Worthy News)-- Tensions remained high Sunday, December 26, near Jakarta where a group of angry Muslims backed by police surrounded homes of Christians in protests against what they called "unauthorized religious services", Worthy News learned.
Christians said over 100 members of the Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) home church were forced to flee the mob duringÂ the December 12 incident in the village of Rancaekek Wetan, details of which just emerged.
Local police chief Hendro Pandowo reportedly acknowledged that the situation in the village was tense.
He said the Christians did not have a permit to use houses as places of worship, but added that Muslims obtained a permit to hold the protest. "If the place was legally designated as a church, we'd provide security protection. Otherwise, we can't do much as it's against the law," he told reporters.
The Christians argue that they are forced to hold services inside their homes because local authorities have refused or ignored a number of requests to approve a place of worship for them.
They have appealed to President Yudhoyono for protection after the congregation was attacked several times, said advocacy group Barnabas Fund, which investigates the incident.
In September, one of the church's leaders was reportedly stabbed. "A number of other churches in Indonesia have also been subject to threats or actual violence. In December alone, explosive devices were found at four Christian buildings; only two of these detonated," added Barnabas Fund.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation. Christians comprise roughly 9 percent of the country's 243 million people, according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).