Indonesia: A Very Merry Moslem Christmas


December 14, 2005: The peace deal in Aceh is working out better than expected. The rebels are surrendering themselves, and their weapons, on schedule and without violence. In turn, the government is pulling out troops and police.

December 11, 2005: Australian and Indonesian commandoes have resumed training together, for the first time in seven years. Tensions over Australian participation in East Timor peacekeeping had led to a halt to such cooperation. Relations between the two countries have improved steadily since then.

December 10, 2005: Volunteers from the largest Moslem organization in the country, will guard Christian churches during the Christmas season. This gesture makes it clear that the majority of Moslems do not condone religious violence. There has been less religious violence this year, partly because the police have cracked down on Islamic radical groups that were behind most of the violence, and kicked out cops who were supporting the radicals. The religious tensions remain in some areas, but the potential for violence is much reduced.

December 1, 2005: Foreign governments have warned their citizens to be cautious spending their Winter holidays in Indonesia, because of the danger of Islamic terror operations. Such warnings have been accurate in the past, and Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the al Qaeda affiliate in Indonesia, has tended to make one major attack a year.




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