Muslims will guard churches in Indonesia at Christmas

By December 15, 2005

Indonesia (MNN) — Five years ago a rash of bombings throughout Indonesia claimed the lives of at least 19 people, mostly Christians. This year police and Muslims will be doing their part to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

According to the Jakarta Post, on Christmas, volunteers from Indonesia’s largest Islamic group will guard churches across the world’s most populous Muslim nation. A youth wind affiliated with the Muslim group Nahdlatol Ulama (nahd-LAH-tool oo-LAH-mah) are coordinating the effort. They’re also asking young people from other religious groups to join their project.

These volunteers will join 17,000 policemen who are expected to safeguard Christmas celebrations in Jakarta alone.

The attacks on churches and on the tourist Island of Bali have been blamed on a terrorist network linked to al-Qaeda. Another terrorist group, Laskar Jihad, which also has ties to al-Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden and the Taliban, is believed to be responsible for killing Christian school girls in the country. The group claims to have 10,000 fighters there dedicated to defending hard-line Islamic beliefs across Indonesia.

There’s a reason for the move. According to reports, there’s a general mistrust of churches by radical Muslims because of their rapid growth in recent years. The Christian population is some 21 million out of a total of 210 million.

Leave a Reply