According to reports, Authorities in the Aceh province of Indonesia began tearing down a number of Christian churches on Monday at the demand of hardline Muslims, as religious tensions have risen in the province in recent weeks. According to Reuters, government workers in the Aceh Singkil district used axes and sledgehammers to dismantle several small Christian churches after many hardline Muslims in the area demanded that at least 10 Christian churches be demolished.
BBC reports that over 200 police officers and military personnel protected government workers as they destroyed the church buildings on the grounds that the structures lacked the proper building permits. Initially, government authorities had instructed church parishioners to tear down their own buildings, but the congregants refused to do so. “How can we do it? It is the church we built to pray. It is impossible [for us to take it down],” said Paima Berutu, a leader of one of the churches, to BBC. “Some of us watched [the demolition] from afar, man and women. It was painful.” FULL REPORT