Saturday the 15th of May

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Indonesian police, Muslim youth to help guard churches at Christmas

More than 90,000 police and soldiers and a moderate Muslim youth group will help guard nearly 50,000 churches across Indonesia, including some previously attacked by terrorists, during the Christmas period.

Brig. Gen Dedi Prasetyo, national police spokesman, said Christmas security this year will be focused on churches in 13 provinces, including on the main islands of Java and Sumatra, reported ucanews.com. The deployments would be to “anticipate” possible security threats, Prasetyo added.

Among the churches to be tightly secured is Santa Maria Church in Surabaya, which was attacked by suicide bombers on 13th May, reported ucanews.com. Our Lady of the Assumption Cathedral Church in Jakarta as well as churches in Sumatra, Java and West Nusa Tenggara provinces have also been attacked.

Francis Xavier Ping Tedja, security co-ordinator at Santa Maria Church, said about 70 police, military and members of Banser – a military youth group associated with Nahdlatul Ulama, the biggest moderate Muslim organisation in Indonesia – will secure the church for Christmas.

“We have co-ordinated with police, military, and Islamic groups to maintain the security, so that Catholics can attend Christmas Masses comfortably and safely,” he told ucanews.com.

Picture: An Indonesian girl holds a candle during Christmas Eve Mass in 2013 at a church in Surabaya. This year nearly 50,000 churches across Indonesia, including some previously attacked by terrorists, are to be guarded during the Christmas period. (CNS photo/Fully Handoko, EPA).