Indonesia police guard churches amid wave of hate

Indonesian police stood guard outside churches Wednesday after a wave of religious hate crimes committed by Muslims swept the mainly Muslim country, shocking civil society and sparking international concern, AFP reports.

Indonesia’s image as a “moderate” bastion of inter-faith harmony has taken a severe battering in recent months at the hands of violent Islamic extremists and vigilante groups.

The wave of hate crimes targeting Christians and other minorities climaxed on Sunday when hundreds of enraged Muslims brutally murdered three followers of a heterodox Islamic sect in front of police, who did little to intervene.

The country was still reeling at the disturbing video of that lynch mob attack when another Muslim mob rampaged through the streets of Temanggung, Central Java, on Tuesday.

This time the police responded with tear gas and warning shots but again they failed to stop the mob, which set fire to two churches and vandalised a Catholic school as they demanded death for a Christian man who had been sentenced to jail for blaspheming Islam.

The attacks have raised concerns about escalating religious intolerance in Indonesia.

The Economist reports the news under the title, Murder in God’s name:

Indonesians are reeling from one of their country’s most awful incidents of religious violence in years. It happened on February 6th, in a village in Banten, the western end of Java, not far from Jakarta, a district where strictly Islamist parties poll well. Out of keeping with the more usual pattern of Muslim-versus-Christian attacks, this was a mob attack by Muslims against men who claimed to be their own fellows: members of a Islamic sect called the Ahmadiyah.

Three Ahmadis were killed and five seriously injured in a frenzy of violence: footage of the assault was deemed too graphic to be shown on Indonesian TV news, which tends to have a fairly high tolerance for the stuff. Instead the footage is circulating on the internet, if you have the stomach. Indonesians are asking what could have motivated religious people to commit such a barbaric act (“sadistic” is a word being bandied around)—and why the police were so feeble in their attempts to stop it.

Sites such as carry some of video footage [Warning: very graphic!] documenting the savagery of the Muslim barbarians. How these criminals can believe that God is pleased with their rabid behavior is beyond anyone’s comprehension.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday February 9, 2011.
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