<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Indonesia and its Muslim vs. Christianity conflict :: Religion
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Indonesia and its Muslim vs. Christianity conflict
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religion

by Daniel M. Silverman

Out of the 210 million people in Indonesia, 90 percent of them are Muslim. Throughout history Indonesia is known for tolerating most religions, but recently things have changed.

In the Poso district there has been much conflict between Muslims and Christians over control over the local government. This has caused violence to occur leaving children and many others injured or killed. Terrorist groups have also formed in the region, including Islamic militant groups like the Laskar Jihad, who are funded by al Qaida.

This militant group seized five Christian villages causing about 8,000 people to be displaced from their homes, according to Religioustolerance.org

In the Maluku Islands, many homes and churches were burned. Between 1999 and 2000 about 3,000 people have died as a result of religious conflicts.

Most recently, in Bali, in 2002, explosions set off by terrorists occurred. It killed over 180 people and 200 more are still missing. The attack was denounced not only by the United States, but also by the United Kingdom and France. Shortly after this attack, the leader of Laskar Jihad decided to disband his group and pull out the 3,000 militants from Maluku.

In this region it is the extremists who are causing the most conflict between the two religions, but the results are trickling down to ordinary people who view the other side as being extreme. This view causes much hatred between cultures and can lead to more violence.

Although a peace pact was signed about a year ago, violence in Poso is starting to escalate again. Recently, Jakarta sent in troops to help dispel the violence. A Straits Times article reports on a Christian taxi driver living in this region who lies to his customers in the Muslim district by telling them he is Muslim. He has gone to lengths to hide his true identity, including dressing and growing facial hair like other traditional Muslims in the region. This article is now archived but can be read if the reader is a subscriber.

 

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