Islamic hard-liners in Indonesia pledge war against Christians; government remains silent

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A banner with a picture of a young, bespectacled Christian man is draped in front of the mosque, a fiery noose around his neck and the words: “This man deserves the death penalty!”

Churches are shut down. And an Islamic youth militia prepares for its first day of training.

Indonesia, a secular nation with more Muslims than any other in the world, has a long history of religious tolerance, though a small extremist fringe has gotten more vocal in recent years. Members of the Islamic Defenders Front, or FPI, have been known to smash bars, attack transvestites and go after minority sects with bamboo clubs and stones.

Now, they are targeting Christians in the fast-growing industrial city of Bekasi, Indonesia. Religious-led violence has been on the rise for months in Bekasi.

The government — except when three lawmakers were attacked by FPI during a meeting in East Java — has made no public comment.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 21, 2013