Indonesian Pastors Attacks Highlight Rise in Extremism

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Many Christians are grateful that a Florida pastor's plans to burn Korans were cancelled and that predicted attacks against their communities did not take place.

However in Indonesia, police say 10 suspects were involved in an attack against two Christian pastors.

The attackers stabbed one pastor in the stomach and beat another minister with a wooden plank as they headed to Sunday worship at the Philadelphia Batak Christian Protestant Church in Bekasi near Jakarta.

One of the injured pastors said they were approached by a group of motorcyclists, when one of the suspects stabbed the other pastor.

Indonesia's president, who has been widely criticized for not cracking down on Muslim extremists, called on authorities to hold the attackers accountable.

"We must uphold the law," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said. "There's no room for violence to be committed by anyone or against anyone -- for any reason, especially on a sensitive issue such as relations among religions in our country."

The notorious head of the Islamic Defenders Front, Murharli Barda, has also been named a suspect in the attack. The Islamic Defenders Front are Muslim extremists who have repeatedly warned members of the church not to worship in a field near their recently closed down church building.

One of the worst attacks against the church came last year. A mob gathered at the local mosque and then tried to prevent Christians from meeting at their newly built church.

Pastor Palty said the mob grew to about 1,500.

"Some threw stones and were shouting 'Allahu Akbar'. Others were calling us kaffirs and pigs and yelling obscenities. Some carried sticks and others shouted, 'Burn the church. Close it down!'"

The extremist group pressured local authorities early this year to close the church, which is located in a densely populated Muslim area.

But Christian worshippers have refused to back down. Every week, about 20 or so return to the field to pray, defying threats and intimidation.

Attacks on religious freedom by Muslim extremists have increased dramatically this year. There have been 64 incidents so far in 2010, up from 18 last year.

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A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.