Islamic militants in Indonesia go to prison for terror attacks on Christians

By December 6, 2007

Indonesia (MNN) — Three Islamic extremists are going to
prison for the attacks on four Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia in 2005. Three
others were sentenced for acts of terrorism also involving Christians.

Compass Direct News confirmed that Rahman
Kalahe was given 19 years, Agus Nur Huhammad was given 14 years, and Yudi
Heryanto 10 years after being found guilty of beheading Theresia Morangke and
Yarni Samubue, 15, and Alfita Poliwo, 17, in an Oct. 29, 2005, attack.

A fourth girl,
Noviana Malewa, then 15, was seriously hurt but survived the machete attack. The crimes were committed in Central Sulawesi

The men were
also punished for the shootings of two high school students and the bombing of
a busy New Year's market that killed eight people on Dec 31, 2005.

The courts
also applied a harsh anti-terror law and gave four others jail terms ranging
from 10 and 18 years for bomb-making and plotting attacks against Christians.

Open Doors USA's minister-at-large Paul Estabrooks says the
penalty could bring closure for the Church, but it also raises fears of
violence as the Christmas season approaches. 

Sectarian violence killed more than 2,000 people between
1998 and 2002 in the province, roughly split between Christians and Muslims. According to Open Doors, Indonesia has the
world's largest Muslim population, with nearly 90 percent of its 235 million
people practicing the faith.

Starting in mid-2005, a campaign was begun by militant
groups in West Java to force the closure of churches in the area. Dozens
of churches have been forced to close while the authorities have done little to
protect the Christians.

Open Doors has worked in the region where the attacks
occurred. Pray for the safety of the
workers as they share the hope of the Gospel.

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