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  • » 05/16/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Maluku, Christian neighborhood attacked

    Mathias Hariyadi

    Unidentified persons set fire to houses and cars. Dozens of families have fled their homes for fear of new attacks. The clashes began last May 14 during the celebrations of the Indonesian hero Thomas Matulessy. Police rule out the Islamists.

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - For the third straight day there have been attacks in Ambon (Moluccas), where last night a group of unidentified persons set fire to houses and motorbikes in a predominantly Christian neighborhood. AsiaNews sources say that dozens of families have fled their homes for fear of attacks. Many fear the involvement of Islamic extremist groups.

    The violence started early last May 14 on Pattimura Day, which commemorates Indonesian national hero Thomas Matulessy (1783-1817) who was born in Ambon, contested by both Christians and Muslims. In the night a group of men attacked the candlelight vigil in Saparua village which was due to end in downtown Ambon. In the clashes 44 people were injured. Yesterday, General Saud Usman Nasution said that the violence was deliberately caused by people close to the radical movements, but has ruled out the involvement of Islamic terrorists.

    Between 1999 and 2001 a bloody war between Christians and Muslims was fought in the Moluccas. There were thousands of victims, hundreds of churches and mosques destroyed, thousands of homes destroyed, and almost half a million refugees. In February 2002 a truce between the two fronts -of equal strength in the Christian and Muslim areas - signed in Malino, South Sulawesi, halted the violence through a peace plan promoted by the government.

     

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    See also

    23/07/2009 INDONESIA
    West Java, Protestant church demolished by local government
    According to officials, the building did not have construction permits. The community of believers’ claims they repeatedly asked permission, but received no responses. Solidarity for the Christians from the Forum for Interreligious Dialogue.

    10/09/2010 INDONESIA
    Jakarta calls Obama to stop the burning of the Koran
    The President telephoned his U.S. counterpart to warn that the initiative threatens world peace. The United States should instead be a "bridge of communication between the West and Islam".

    23/07/2012 INDONESIA
    Aceh, Christians protest over burned church and authorities inertia
    The fire dates to July 18 in Singkil regency. Pews and musical instruments destroyed in the fire. Since May last year the local government, under pressure from Islamists, has sealed off 20 Christian places of worship, four of which are Catholics.

    21/09/2011 INDONESIA
    Threats against Christian churches: return of strategy of tension even in Sulawesi
    Telephone messages warning of attacks against Catholic and Protestant churches, but they are hoaxes. Police are investigating but it is not clear whether it is political propaganda or conflict of a religious nature. Sulawesi Priest calls for "fellow citizens" not to get carried away "by feelings of hatred."

    11/11/2011 INDONESIA
    West Java, Muslim and Christian intellectuals against mayor’s attempts to cancel Protestant church
    Diani Budiarto, regardless of a ruling by the Constitutional Court, will not guarantee freedom of Christian worship to the Yasmin Church of. Muslim Professor calls on the government to punish the official, but warns that one case of intolerance should not be generalized. Priest recalls the attacks on 47 churches in 2010 and claims the right to religious freedom.



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