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Aceh Christians become more united as Shari'a is implemented in Aceh

Christians in Aceh, Indonesia, are responding to the implementation of Shari'a - or Islamic law - in their province with joint prayers and measures that reinforce their religious identity.

Capuchin Fr Fernando Severi told the press that the imposition of Shari'a is a "challenge" for local Christians.

"They should take it as an opportunity to show their Christian identity not just with symbols, but in witnessing their faith in society," the Italian missionary said.

He observed that since the implementation of the Shari'a on 15 March, the Muslim New Year, the bond between Catholics and Protestants has become stronger, citing joint prayer services between the two groups.

So far, the enforcement of Shari'a has not affected the religious life of non-Muslims. "We still can attend services and other Church activities," he said. Currently, there are only 550 Catholics, about 75 of whom are ethnic Chinese, Fr Severi added.


19 Apr 2002