A local village official in Indonesia stopped a church service on Feb. 19 in what became a mob intrusion, Morning Star News reported.
On western Indonesia’s Sumatra Island, the head of the Rukun Tetangga area of Rajabasa Jaya village, Wawan Kurniawan, leaped over a meter-high fence to intrude into the worship service of the Tabernacle of David Christian Church, 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 church 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. A member of congregation told Suara.com that Wawan threatened to bring in more people if the worship did not stop.
‘The mob choked the pastor’s throat’
More area residents did arrive, the church member 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.”
Another church member told Suara.com that someone from the mob choked the pastor’s throat and told the congregation to leave.
Wawan later told local media outlet IDNTimes.com that he only meant to ask the congregation to refrain from worshipping there until they obtain a permit for their building.
Indonesia ranked 33rd on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. Indonesian society has adopted a more conservative Islamic character, and churches involved in evangelistic outreach are at risk of being targeted by Islamic extremist groups, according to Open Doors’ WWL report.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written and originally published by Morning Star News.