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Indonesia: 14 killed as Muslims, Christians clash (Muslims burn Xian churches and homes)
AP via ^ | 4.26.04

Posted on 04/26/2004 6:08:10 PM PDT by ambrose

Apr. 26, 2004 10:21

Indonesia: 14 killed as Muslims, Christians clash


Gangs of Muslims and Christians clashed as mobs set fire to houses and a church Monday in violence that has left at least 14 people dead in two days in Indonesia's eastern Maluku islands, hospital officials and witnesses said.

Police rushed reinforcements to the provincial capital Ambon, where at least 10 people were killed Sunday and up to 100 injured. On Monday, four of the injured died and additional 20 were wounded, hospital officials said.

The new fighting comes as politicians campaign for presidential elections in July.

It is shaping up as to one of the bloodiest outbreaks of violence in the Malukus, known previously as the Moluccan or Spice Islands, since a peace deal in 2002 that ended two years of religious violence in which 9,000 people perished.

The unrest in 2002 attracted Muslim militants from all over Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Many of them later joined the al-Qaida linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah, which was blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings.

On Monday, gangs of Muslims and Christians fought in the Talake neighborhood of the provincial capital, Ambon, witnesses said. Gunfire and several explosions were heard, and a mob set alight a building belonging to a Christian-run university in the district.

Muslim mobs burnt several Christian homes in the city, said C.J. Bohm, a local Christian leader. Most of the homes were empty because their inhabitants had fled late Sunday.

"I think it will get worse," said Bohm, who has been a vocal proponent of peace between the two communities. "They (the Christians) can't defend themselves and the security forces are very weak."

Sunday's clashes occurred after several members of the region's small Christian separatist movement rallied in Ambon. Public displays of support by the group are regarded as a provocation by local Muslims.

Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, but Maluku's 2 million people are evenly divided between Muslims and Christians.

Most of the Muslims moved to the Malukus from other islands in the 1970s and 80s under the Suharto dictatorship's migration program in order to dilute the region's largely Christian secessionist movement.

The Malukus: From religious harmony to violence

The Malukus are 2,600 kilometers east of Jakarta. Known as the Spice Islands during Dutch colonial days, the Malukus were once held up as a model of religious harmony.

Soon after it erupted in 1999, the conflict intensified with the arrival of volunteers belonging to Laskar Jihad, or Holy War Troops, a newly created militia from Indonesia's main island of Java.

Analysts and diplomats accused senior army commanders loyal to former dictator Suharto for funding and training the militia in order to create trouble for reformist administrations that followed his ouster in 1998.

Although Laskar Jihad's leaders were close to the military - which on occasion provided the militiamen with fire support - some of the rank and file were radical Muslims who later joined Jemaah Islamiyah.

Laskar Jihad itself was hastily disbanded in the wake of the Bali attacks, the worst terrorist atrocity since September 11, 2002, after public attention focused on its ties with hard-line generals.

Many Christians in the Malukus blame the government for not investigating those links and for not bringing to justice generals held responsible for the bloodshed.

TOPICS: War on Terror
KEYWORDS: indonesia; koran; muslims; persecution; religiouscleansing

1 posted on 04/26/2004 6:08:12 PM PDT by ambrose
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To: ambrose

2 posted on 04/26/2004 6:23:31 PM PDT by spodefly (A 7mm intellect in a .284 caliber world, or something.)
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To: ambrose
Religion of Piss alert.
3 posted on 04/26/2004 6:25:46 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: ambrose
I DO NOT brake for practioners of the 'religion of pieces, as in "convert or you will become dead"'.
4 posted on 04/26/2004 6:28:38 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution (FREE 3D On-line Golf Game - Independent Reseller of the Week:
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To: johniegrad
LOL. Must be a St. John's grad?!
5 posted on 04/26/2004 6:29:57 PM PDT by ApesForEvolution (FREE 3D On-line Golf Game - Independent Reseller of the Week:
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To: ApesForEvolution
SJU 24 - Mount Union 6.
6 posted on 04/26/2004 6:32:15 PM PDT by johniegrad
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To: ambrose
It's also important to remember that during the unrest in East Timor, as Christians were getting slaughtered by Muslims, it was Bill Clinton who was lending support to the Indonesian government as their military committed atrocities on a grand scale againt these people. And why not, Riady was one of Clinton's largest, single contributors.

The sad irony in Indonesia is that you also had a secessionist movement like that in Kosovo...only it was the Christians (after having been conquered) who wanted independence from their captors. Unfortunately, unlike the Muslim secession in Kosovo that was supported by the USA, the Christians in Indonesia weren't given the same considerations as they tried to split from their oppressors.

It is truly disturbing to see how much support Muslims got throughout the 1990's, only to have been attacked by them on 9/11. I get sick when I think that after the first WTC attack in 1993, the Clinton administration found it more important to go after the Christian fundy's at Waco than to concentrate on our Muslim enemies. Hell, even after OKC in 1995 were evidence of Mid-East involvement was possible, it was Clinton who went after Rush and right-wing radio. These people not only ignored our enemies, they helped perpetuate a deeper hatred towards Christians as they also supported our enemies.
7 posted on 04/26/2004 6:44:28 PM PDT by cwb (Kerry: Sadr is a legitimate voice in Iraq being silenced by America..and Hamas are sorta terrorists.)
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