"During the trial, Muslim terrorists protested outside the courtroom, threatening to kill the women, pastors, missionaries, and judges if the Christians were acquitted. Supporters of Zakaria, Pangesti, and Bangun have protested that any semblance of true justice for the women was highly unlikely in that atmosphere."
And the world needs Muslims, faithful to the teachings of the Koran, because they're so....???
News from The Agape Press: "Indonesian High Court Denies Imprisoned Sunday School Teachers' Appeal
VOM: Three Persecuted Christian Women Continue Sharing Their Faith, Even Behind Bars
By Allie Martin and Jenni Parker
March 1, 2006
(AgapePress) - The Supreme Court of Indonesia has denied the appeal of three Sunday school teachers arrested and charged with breaking the law by allegedly coercing children to convert to the Christian faith.
The three Christians -- Dr. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti and Ratna Bangun -- were arrested last May and charged with violating Indonesia's Child Protection Act of 2002 by trying to convert Muslim youth involved in a children's program the women ran for a nearby public elementary school in Indonesia�s West Java province. The teachers were accused of enticing Muslim children to participate in the program and coercing them with gifts to convert from Islam to Christianity.
The defense argued in court that none of the children were, in fact, converted or in any way coerced to do so. The attorneys furthermore pointed out that the Christian teachers always required and obtained parental consent before allowing any child to attend their voluntary Sunday school program. Nevertheless, the three women were declared guilty and each was sentenced to three years in jail.
During the trial, Muslim terrorists protested outside the courtroom, threatening to kill the women, pastors, missionaries, and judges if the Christians were acquitted. Supporters of Zakaria, Pangesti, and Bangun have protested that any semblance of true justice for the women was highly unlikely in that atmosphere.
Todd Nettleton is with Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry to the persecuted Church and one of the organizations that have been advocating for the release of the imprisoned women. He points out that, during the trial, no genuine proof was provided to support the contention that the Christian teachers were guilty of any wrongdoing, or indeed, that any legal violation had taken place at all.
"For the Indonesian Supreme Court not to overturn this verdict is a travesty of justice," Nettleton asserts. "As we look at some of the evidence that was presented and some of the alleged evidence that was used against these three ladies, there is absolutely no crime that has been committed, and there is no reason for them to be in jail."
But while the Indonesian Supreme Court's denial of the Christian teachers' appeal is "incredibly disappointing," the VOM spokesman notes, there is something encouraging to report regarding their situation.
Persecuted Believers 'Abounding' Despite Their Bonds"That good news comes from the reports we're hearing of these three ladies, while they're in prison, having opportunities to tell other prisoners about Jesus Christ," Nettleton explains. "I think that goes to show the way the Lord works."
According to the reports of those Christians in contact with Zakaria, Bangun, and Pangesti, the three women say their faith continues to sustain and encourage them. Zakaria, who wakes early each day to pray and read her Bible, intercedes for the guards as well as for her fellow prisoners, and she has even been privileged to lead others to Christ while behind bars.
Zakaria, a medical doctor who, besides teaching in the school program also used to treat some 30 to 40 Muslim and Christian patients daily in her clinic in Indramayu, has since her incarceration received permission to lead a weekly worship service in an outdoor courtyard of the prison. In addition to her fellow inmates, a number of Christians from her church are also allowed to enter the prison to take part in the service each week.
Although she and the other Christian women charged and sentenced with her report being occasionally discouraged, Zakaria's faith remains strong. She calls their present environment not a jail but their "School of Trust Bible School."
Despite the fact that the three Sunday school teachers have been denied both justice and freedom, Nettleton notes, they are still making a difference for Christ. He urges prayer for these faith-filled women and also asks believers to pray that Islamic extremists will fail in their attempts to intimidate Indonesia's Christians and that the country will eventually allow freedom for people of all religions.
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