Indonesia: Islamic Vigilantes


October 22, 2005: The government believes that only two of the 17,000 Islamic schools in the country are inciting terrorism through their teaching of Islamic radicalism. Many more schools, however, encourage hostility against infidels (non-Moslems), and many mosques host preachers who urge Moslems to resist conversions by Christian groups. Most Christians are concentrated on a few islands, but smaller groups are showing up all over the country, and these are increasingly threatened by Moslem vigilantes. This is a common pattern all over the world, where Moslems and non-Moslems live in close proximity. No other religion generates as much violence against "non-believers," and this hostility has led to the current pattern of Islamic terrorism. About nine percent of Indonesians are Christian, two percent Hindu and two percent other religions.

October 18, 2005: Three more men were arrested as suspects in the October 1 bombings in Bali. Most of the 23 dead were Indonesians, four were Australians.

October 17, 2005: A new armed, pro-Indonesian group, called Okto, has been operating along the East Timor border with West Timor. The armed group is apparently composed of Indonesians who used to live in West Timor, but left when West Timor became independent. There have not been any clashes yet, but West Timor police fear the group may begin raiding across the border.

October 15, 2005: Some 23,000 troops remain in Aceh, while 6,000 have left since the peace agreement with the rebels was signed in August. Rebels continue to hand in weapons, with a total of 840 to be surrendered by the end of the year. There have been several firefights with rebels lately, leaving at least one rebel dead and several wounded. Not all of the 3,000 or so active rebels agree with the peace deal, and local police are supposed to deal with these eventually.

October 11, 2005: Armed men claiming to belong to organizations like the "Islamic Defender Front" continue to attack Christians, threatening to burn down houses and kill people if, in one instance, Catholics do not stop holding prayer services in their homes. The armed Moslem gangs say they are following the Koran, and police are often reluctant to go after these groups and arrest them, for fear of escalating violence.




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