Priest, others wounded in sword attack

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia — A Muslim extremist attacked a Catholic church in Indonesia on Feb. 11, wounding a priest, two worshippers and a police officer.

The 23-year-old attacker, identified as Suliyono of Bayuwangi, struck during Mass at St. Lidwina Catholic Church in Central Java’s city of Yogyakarta. He reportedly stormed into the service brandishing a meter-long sword and began striking people. Karl-Edmund Prier, an 81-year-old German-born priest, was reportedly standing at the altar when he was seriously wounded. Police arrived within minutes but not before the suspect decapitated statues of Jesus and Mary.

Police charged him with persecution, sharp-weapon ownership and terrorism, according to the Jakarta Post. He could face the death penalty under Indonesia’s 2003 Terrorism Law, legislation that is under revision in the House of Representatives.

Indonesia ranked 38th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. (MS)