September 22, 2006 at 11:44 am (Christianity, Islam, Religions)

Three men who were found guilty (in what many have reported to be a sham trial) of “touching off” a conflict between Muslims and Christians in Sulawesi, Indonedia, have been executed. This is notable because none of the Muslim instigators (whether of this incident or of any of the other Muslim-Christian massacres) have been arrested or investigated. Indonesian authorities held off executing these men before, in response to an appeal of Pope Benedict XVI and mass protests.

Christian Indonesians responded with violence, particularly in Atumbua, West Timor, the birthplace of one of the men. All calls for the government to investigate and bring to justice other leaders of that massacre or others that have occured since 1998, have been rejected by the government. Considering the number of people – Muslim and Christian – who have died in inter-religious riots since 1998, and considering the sham-ness of this trial, people are understandably upset. (Note: The conflict among Muslims and Christians in Sulawesi and other areas is separate from the Islamist terrorist movements and attacks in Bali and Aceh.)

I do condemn the violence by the Christians. This is not the way to respond. They used international pressure before, and should find a way to use it again.

I also condemn the government of Indonesia for its biased policies. It ought to punish all instigators, Muslim and Christian, rather than select three scapegoats and execute them. It sends a wrong message to both parties: to Muslims that they can perhaps get away with violence, and to Christians that the state is uninterested in their pleas and that they will be unfairly punished when they respond to violence.

For more information, see:
“Indonesian executions spark violent protest” by Reuters.
“Indonesian executions lead to violence” by AP, via Yahoo! News.

If someone is aware of a good article on the whole Muslim-Christian riots in Indonesia, please e-mail me the link or post it in the comments. I’d appreciate it very much.


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