The persecuted Christians you don't see on the news
A new report carries allegations of discrimination and violence being carried out against a Christian community in West Papua – a province of Indonesia.
The majority of people in the province are Christians. But since the area was taken over by the Indonesian government in 1963, there have been reports of persecution against Christians.
Indonesia overall has a majority Muslim population.
A new report by an Australian Catholic organisation seeks to throw light on allegations of arrests, poisoning, fire bombs, kidnapping, torture and other attacks. There are also reports of lower-level disruption of Christians' lives and their freedom of worship – such as police dispersing believers at prayer meetings.
The report says: "The Indonesians want to replace the Christian religion with Islam. Many mosques are being built everywhere. They want Papua to be a Javanese Malay nation. Radicalisation is happening in Papua, with some militias very active near the border with PNG." It carries on: "They burn down the Papuan houses. They are recruited as illegal loggers. Their camps and logging are well protected by the military."
A report from persecution charity Open Doors has further information on West Papua. It says: "Newer evangelical churches... began to hold mass religious rallies, locally known as KKRs, in public places. Often these meetings featured testimonies from Muslim converts. Muslim residents objected to the KKRs and responded by publicly questioning basic tenets of the Christian faith, such as the divinity of Jesus, further compounding tensions."
The worry for Christians in West Papua is part of a wider movement to gain freedom from Indonesia for the province. Violence has periodically flared up and campaigners regularly protest against continued Indonesian rule.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide has also issued a briefing on the area. It says: "The militarisation of West Papua has led to widespread and serious violations of human rights, and there are fears of religious tensions developing. CSW advocates dialogue between the Indonesian Government and representatives of the West Papuan people, demilitarisation, and an end to the violations of human rights."