One dead in clashes at Aceh churches

Tension has been building in Aceh province, where authorities have begun imposing Islamic law on religious minorities

Two churches have been burned down and at least one person has been killed in clashes in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Tuesday, say officials. Report say hundreds of Muslim men attacked a church in Aceh Singkil district, setting it on fire. A human rights group said the attackers then burnt down a second Roman Catholic church. They then went to a third church, where a man died in clashes with Christians defending the church and the police.

Tension in Aceh has been rising amid increasing Islamic conservatism in the province and Indonesia as a whole. Responding to the violence, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo tweeted: “Stop the violence in Aceh Singkil. Any background of violence, especially religion and belief, destroys diversity.” Last week, protesters calling themselves Aceh Youth Concerned for Islam held a demonstration demanding that what they claimed were unlicensed churches be torn down by authorities.