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Muslims Attack Churches in Indonesia

May 25, 2001

      Following a lull of several months, radical Muslim mobs are once again attacking Christians and their churches in Indonesia. Poso, a Central Sulawesi Island, has been a hotbed of anti-Christian activity. On April 9-12, three church buildings and more than a dozen Christian homes were burned. Christians retaliated two days later by burning an abandoned Muslim school; Muslims set fire to 13 Christian homes the following day.

According to Eskol Net, a mob of several hundred Muslims burst into the Oikumene Christian Church during services on April 22. Three policemen arrived and prevented the mob from burning the church. Elim church and at least five Christian homes were destroyed on April 23. Another church, under renovation in Central Jakarta, was destroyed in April. More than 500 churches have been burned and destroyed in Indonesia since 1995.

Meanwhile, more than 21,000 radical Muslim troops are reportedly poised to wage jihad (holy war) in the Muluku and North Muluku Islands. The leader says he has 150,000 troops ready to confront armed supporters of any group that seeks to divide the Muslims.

--Used by permission of Religion Today


Indonesian Christians Cry Out for Relief

Tuesday, January 16, 2001

    "Oppressed Christians cry out to God for relief that governments won't give" according to Brittany Jarvis of the Southern Baptist Convention Baptist Press. In Ambon City, Indonesia, Christians' call to prayer has been sounding every night since the conflict between Muslims and Christians erupted in Indonesia's Maluku Islands in January 1999. More than 4,000 people have been killed and as many as 500,000 people displaced in this religious and political war. Jim Brown, the human needs consultant for the International Mission Board, recently traveled to the Maluku Islands.
    While there, his team tried to assess how Southern Baptists can help refugees - and gather evidence that the fighting is being fueled by an outside group.
    "Our ambassador said the only way the international community would do anything would be if they were able to prove outside influence with this jihad war," Brown said. A breakthrough for Christians came in late December when Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid acknowledged the influence of Islamic extremists and condemned the fighting." There is an effort by Islamic extremists to convert Christians to Islam in the Malukus," Wahid said during a speech at a mosque in Jakarta. "This is not right."
    The Laskar Jihad paramilitary group has taken most of the responsibility for inciting the violence. They maintain a Web site designed to recruit Islamic extremists who are willing to force Muslim villages in the Malukus to attack Christians. In areas where Christians and Muslims have peacefully lived side by side for decades, jihad warriors demand Muslim villages join in the fight or risk being attacked.
    Temporary housing will be constructed on Ceram Island, where 11,000 people have taken refuge. A team of volunteers from California will build barracks during the day and show the "Jesus" film in the evenings. "Some churches won't touch this project because the risk is too high," said Chris Cole, the team leader, "but we go because the love of Christ compels us." The International Mission Board will underwrite the costs for the barracks using money from its general relief fund. The board also will use Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund resources to meet critical food needs and provide agricultural assistance as reported by Baptist Press at

--Used by permission of Religion Today

Indonesian Muslims Massacre Christians

Thursday, December 7, 2000

    Muslims massacred Christians on an island in Indonesia's Moluccas chain, according to news reports. As many as 93 people died on Kasiui, a small island east of Ambon, the capital, for refusing to convert to Islam, Agence France-Presse reported. More than 700 people agreed to convert.
    The victims were among 3,000 refugees who fled into the jungle when Islamic troops attacked four villages Nov. 28, according to AFP. The Associated Press reported similar attacks earlier in the week that destroyed two Christian churches and left 54 villagers dead. The soldiers reportedly pursued the villagers and forced captives to choose between Islam and death.
    Some Muslims sought to protect their Christian friends and neighbors, a Catholic priest told the AP. "There are good Muslims who want to protect, while there are bad people who want to slaughter," he said. The government was slow to respond to the emergency, said a witness who claimed that only one boat came to evacuate the refugees. Government officials said about 500 people were rescued and several infantry companies have been sent to the island to prevent more violence, according to the AP.
    More than 4,000 people have died in two years of conflict between the Muslim and Christian communities in the Moluccas, formerly known as the Spice Islands, 1,600 miles northeast of Jakarta, the AP reported. Thousands of Islamic jihad troops reportedly are aiming to Islamicize the region by converting, killing, or driving out Christians.

--Used by permission of Religion Today


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