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Big News: It’s The Muslims, Not The Christians

Big News withDave Crampton

It’s the Muslims, not the Christians, who are the militants

The war goes on like a tidal wave. War in the air, war on the ground, war in Afghanistan, war in the Middle East and war in Indonesia. Mind you, you’ll never guess there is war in Indonesia, the media has not been reporting it much. As a result peaceniks, be they marchers, walkers, singers, radio announcers or even the local fire-breathers for peace – who are probably setting a world fire-breathing record, so at least they’re achieving something - are not calling for peace in Indonesia. They’re too busy concentrating on Afghanistan as bombs are involved. Many have said that the war in Afghanistan is not a religious war, but a war on the Taliban. That’s not the case in Indonesia.

There is a religious war of sorts going on in Indonesia - and it is the Muslims who appear to be initiating all the problems, not the Christians. But it is not so much a religious war between Christians and Muslims. Many Christians and Muslims get on fine. This conflict is nothing short of a military strategy birthed in the minds of Bin Laden's disciples – the Lasker Jihad - within Indonesia who are hell bent on their evil agenda, and are now preparing for what they call a “bloody Christmas” for the Christians. It seems that Muslim leaders have a double standard, as they demand the U.S. halt bombing in Afghanistan during Ramadan, but it is apparently okay for radical jihad warriors to terrorise Indonesian Christians during the Islamic holy month.

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Religious strife has been on the rise since the 1998 downfall of former President Suharto. Last year, twelve churches were bombed and attacks are continuing as militant Islamic groups are angry at the U.S.-led military operation in Afghanistan which they see as a war on Islam. No reports are to hand as to what these militants think of the terrorist attacks that led to the bombings.

Scores of well-organised, uniformed militia equipped with machine guns, rocket launchers, and even bulldozers attacked villages in the Poso area, destroying hundreds of Christian homes, and causing up to 50,000 to flee their homes.

A Catholic bishop has asked the government to intervene to stop the violence, but observers say President Megawati Sukarnoputri is reluctant to take action against the Muslim militants because she is indebted to conservative Muslim parties that supported her campaign to oust reformist President Abdurahhman Wahid. For all the talk of Indonesia being a moderate Islamic country, the government appears powerless to provide the necessary intervention to stop the massacres.

Unlike the US, the Indonesian Government is offering no protection. To date they have sent no troops as they say they can’t compete with the Muslim militants. No fighter jets patrol the skies, there is no FBI or CIA presence, and the police just take off when they seen the Muslim militants attacking and killing Christians and looting or destroying properties. In one area of Indonesia the police are afraid for their lives. They have three rifles to defend against thousands of armed men with automatic rifles. It’s either confront them and die, or run away and live – but let civilians die.

Christians in the Indonesian island of Sulawesi also continue to be under attack from hundreds of Muslim jihad warriors. Nine hundred warriors arrived on November 28 and a thousand arrived the previous week, according to police. These men are being equipped with automatic rifles and bombs and are using trucks including gasoline tanker trucks to attack and burn and destroy Christian villages. According to the Jakarta Post, as many as 50,000 mainly Christian refugees in Central Sulawesi could be attacked in the absence of military or police protection. The rebels, mostly from East Java, were equipped with AK-47 guns, rocket launchers, bulldozers and circular saws.

According to Indonesian news reports, thousands of Muslims and Christians have fled several towns and sought refuge in police stations, churches and military barracks, and the government is reportedly preparing to send in 2500 troops and the UN is also sending in a team.

The Indonesian government has more problems than what to do with asylum seekers that haven’t already departed their shores in risky boats. It is being held to political ransom by the Islamic terrorists and only international intervention appears to be the way forward for peace and justice in that country.

Don’t count on the US to bomb Islamic militants in Indonesia though. Despite partaking in the world-wide terrorism movement the US is trying to wipe out, they haven’t hurt the American people enough.

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at davec@globe.net.nz

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