(AsiaNews) - Mgr Ignatius Suharyo, archbishop of Jakarta, has appealed to the
Catholic community in the Indonesian capital to remain "vigilant" of
possible attacks, but also to be "friendly and cooperative toward
As violent acts against
defenceless citizens and religious minorities continue in the world's most populous
Muslim country, alarm levels remain high following a double
bombing at a Buddhist temple last Sunday.
The prelate issued
his warning yesterday via the archdiocese's mailing list, which includes
Catholic priests and community leaders, after petrol bombs were thrown in the
early morning inside the compound of the Assisi Catholic School in Tebet, South
The handmade devices
thrown at the Catholic school and the two rudimentary bombs that blew up at the
Vihara Buddhist temple in Kebun Jeruk, West Jakarta, are symptomatic of the high
tensions that currently prevail in the country, which is increasingly
threatened by Islamic extremism.
More details on
the assassination attempt foiled at the Catholic school and on its perpetrators
are still not available.
Speaking to AsiaNews, school officials have
confirmed that the act of intimidation did take place. Someone on a motorcycle,
they said, came up to the outer walls of the school and threw two Molotov
cocktails inside, then fled.
The school in
question is the same that US President Barack Obama attended as a pupil before he
moved to another facility located in Central Jakarta.
view of the seriousness of the situation, a priest in the archdiocese said that
Mgr Suharyo's message is related to the escalation of provocations that has occurred
on the eve of the feast of Idul Fitri
(or Lebaran), which marks the end of
the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and prayer.
Indonesia has been the scene of violence and extremism that have sown discord
and division among members of different religions.
From 1997 to
2001, the island of Sulawesi and nearby Maluku were the scene of a bloody
The violence caused
almost half a million refugees, 25,000 in Poso alone, and thousands of people saw
their homes burnt to the ground, with hundreds of churches and mosques
On 20 December
2001, the two sides signed a truce in Malino, South Sulawesi. Christians and
Muslims represent about half of the local population.
truce did not prevent the periodic outburst of violence against innocent
victims, such as the beheading
of three girls on their way to school by Muslim extremists in October
police sources, some of the extremist leaders behind the violence in the 1999-2002
period are the same who today, years later, are responsible for crimes, attacks
and bombings in Java.