A Muslim mob torched unlicensed churches and priest’s home in western Indonesia last week and security forces have deployed to ensure order, a government spokesman said on Monday.
No one was hurt when hundreds of villagers burned down two Protestant churches on Friday in Sibuhuan village, North Sumatra provincial spokesman Baharuddin Djafar said. No arrests were made, but he promised authorities would “investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to court.”
Relations between religious groups are generally peaceful in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, but minorities are sometimes targeted by conservative Islamic groups opposed to religious diversity.
Christians say it has become increasingly difficulty to obtain licenses to operate churches and that violence is more frequent.
It was not immediately clear what prompted the arson attacks, but the churches have been a long-standing source of tension in the predominantly Muslim area. Religious leaders were meeting to try to prevent escalation, he said.
Mr. Djafar said 200 Christians fled Sibuhuan village, but that the situation was under control. Around 100 security forces were deployed.
Authorities were reportedly considering allowing a new church to be constructed 18 kilometers (11 miles) outside of the village.