Christians in Indonesia are now asking for prayers after Muslim extremists attacked and burned down three churches in the province of Aceh, leaving one individual dead.
The torching of the three churches in Aceh, Indonesia comes in the wake of a message spread on social media urging Muslims to desecrate Christian churches in the area. The said message, which came from Muslim extremists, claimed that the churches are not licensed to operate, according to the Gospel Herald (GH).
In a statement issued to the Mission News Network, Open Doors USA president David Curry said one of the churches burned down is the Indonesian Christian Church (HKI) on Oct. 13. He said they are now asking people to support and pray for the Christians being persecuted in Aceh, MNN Online reports.
The assailants also torched another Roman Catholic church and proceeded to attack a third one in a similar fashion. In the third attack, a man died while trying to defend the church, the report details.
"Muslim extremists have been spreading a viral message about 'here's what's happening in churches' and sort of stirring up dissension," GH quotes Curry's statement. "With all of the technology available, there's more opportunity for people to stir up dissension, and (now) you have this incident in Indonesia, where this church was burned down."
In the wake of the church torching, Indonesian President Joko Widodo released a statement via Twitter calling for the violence in Aceh Singkil to stop. The president said these acts will only destroy the country's diversity.
However, there are reports saying President Widodo has been too lenient on extremists. Based on the World Evangelical Alliance's report last month, the Indonesian government has not exerted enough effort to protect religious minorities from persecution. While he has been working to make Indonesians more tolerant of other religions, he still has not strengthened measures against Muslim extremists.
Indonesia is home to the most number of Muslims in the whole world, based on data from the Pew Research Center. The country also takes the 47th rank as the worst persecutor of Christians on the Open Doors 2015 World Watch List