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Indonesia: Police Arrest Christian Apologist

There is a small community of about 2,500 Orthodox Christians in Indonesia. Get information about Holy Orthodoxy in Indonesia here.

For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in Indonesia, see here.

“Police Arrest Christian Apologist in Indonesia,” Morning Star News, February 8, 2023:

SURABAYA, Indonesia (Morning Star News) – A Christian apologist whose comparisons of Christianity with Islam were widely disseminated on his blog and YouTube channel has disappeared since his arrest in December, sources said.

Nothing has been heard from Gratia Pello, a professor at a small Christian theological school in East Java Province, since a crowd of police officers ransacked his house in Malang and arrested him on Dec. 6, according to online news outlet Sintesa.

The apologist, reportedly a Coptic Orthodox Christian known for debates with Muslim converts from Christianity, was subsequently transferred to Surabaya for interrogation, according to Sintesa. He is known for his widely followed Inyo Manis YouTube channel and his books on apologetics and Islamic and Christian doctrines. His knowledge of Arabic has enabled him to make significant use of Islamic resources.

Prior to his arrest, four police officers visited Gratia Pello’s house at about 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 6 to question him about the content of episode 248 of his YouTube channel, which officers said had offended Muslims and Islam, according to Sintesa’s Dec. 13 report.

The video, which first appeared on Feb. 23, 2022, described how Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, visited the house of his adopted son, Zayd ibn Harithah, and Harithah’s wife, Zaynab bint Jahsh, who later became one of Muhammad’s wives.

Finding no mistakes and no other elements that violated Islam doctrines, the officers then left the house, only to return four or five hours later, according to Sintesa. They delivered a summons for Gratia Pello to go to police headquarters on Dec. 9 at 9 a.m. for further questioning, but at 8:30 p.m. on the same day, Dec. 6, a team of 29 police officers stormed the house.

Gratia Pello and his wife happened to have left the house to buy dinner, and with only his mother-in-law and youngest son at home, the officers with neither an arrest warrant nor a search warrant proceeded to ransack the house.

They arrested the apologist upon his return at 11 p.m. and later took him to East Java Regional Police Headquarter in Surabaya, about 110 kilometers (70 miles) away, for further interrogation. He is still presumably waiting for trial.

A Muslim convert from Christianity, Hanny Kristianto of the Indonesia Mualaf Center (MCI), reportedly said that Gratia Pello had made a video challenging Muslims to report him to the police.

“He even made a video, like challenging Muslims to arrest him, and he will be responsible for his statement on Islam,” Hanny Kristianto said in the video on social media. The Muslim apologist, whose original name means “The Son of Christ,” said in the video that he and others had been searching for Gratia Pello for nine months.

“I went to Malang, visiting the Nusantara Bible School (Sekolah Alkitab Nusantara) and his address in Surabaya [where his parents live], but he was not there,” Hanny Kristianto said. “Gratia Pello seems to act with impunity, and we were pessimistic when the head of East Java Regional Headquarter was Mr. Niko Avinta, a Christian. But the police should not be impartial, never take the side with any religion.”…

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