Indonesia: Militants Burn Deviant Mosque


May 1,2008: Islamic radicals have continued their violent attacks on other religions, or Islamic sects. Over a hundred Christian churches have been forced to close (either via intimidation or by burning them down) in the last five years. Recently, the Islamic Ahmadiyah sect, with 200,000 members in Indonesia, has also been attacked. Islamic radicals demand that the government declare Ahmadiyah illegal. Ahmadiyah was founded in Pakistan over a century ago, and is banned in Pakistan. The government caved, and banned Ahmadiyah. Also in the last week, a court banned Jemaah Islamiah as well, arrested two of its leaders and demanded that the government ban take action against the entire group. The government had long resisted banning Jemaah Islamiah, fearing a backlash from Islamic conservatives. The government was heavily criticized at home and abroad for the Ahmadiyah banning, especially with the burning of a Ahmadiyah mosque this week, but a mob of Islamic radicals. The government is now reconsidering the ban.

Australia is withdrawing 21 percent of its 950 peacekeepers in East Timor.

April 29, 2008: East Timor rebel leader Gastao Salsinha and eleven of his followers have surrendered. Salsinha has led the Reinado rebel group, which has fallen apart, since its leader and founder, Alfredo Reinado, was killed in February. The Reinado group were a major source of unrest in East Timor. The main problems remaining are all criminal gangs.

April 18, 2008: Three East Timorese rebels were arrested in West Timor. The dead East Timorese rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was found to have had nearly a million dollars in an Australian bank, and an Australian girlfriend who was providing logistical support. Reinado and his followers were also found to have close ties with a leading East Timor gang leader.


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