Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Government stating the obvious

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - National Intelligence Agency (BIN) Chief Syamsir Siregar said here Monday a small group of people not belonging to Islamic nor Christian communities in Poso, Central Sulawesi, had been trying to keep on sowing terror in the region.

Yes, we know that. Local Muslims and Christians want peace and harmony.

The small radical group wanted to continue committing acts designed to create unrest in the region`s community, Siregar said after attending a function to mark the 78th anniversary of Youth Pledge Day at the vice presidential office here. Until now, the group was still in Poso and they had bombs and many other fire arms used in the killing of a Protestant priest by masked men two weeks ago, he said.

Yes we know that too. The photo below shows some of the homemade guns, weapons and bombs that have been confiscated from Polewali. And again, like in my report last month, notice the book at the front of the table. Revolusi Iran. Propaganda from Iran, that lovely anti-Western, anti-Christian, anti-Semetic, infidel killing, terrorist supporting, civilian oppressing government of the Mullahs and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And who do suppose is reading this material? Christians?

Another church minister, Susianti Tinulele, was shot to death by masked men when she was leading a church service in Poso in July 2004 while two school girls were killed and mutilated by unidentified men in Poso in 2005.

There were three girls beheaded and one escaped with a deep wound to the side of the head. Fact checking is impor
tant in good reporting.

Central Sulawesi Governor Paliuju who also attended the Youth Pledge Day function confirmed the existence of small armed groups in Poso, saying this had become evident when policemen on search operations sometimes heard shots they did not fire.The governor, however, could not name the terror groups but said the government would set up an independent fact-finding team to investigate the bloody crimes in Poso. The team, he said, would comprise policemen, the military and local residents. He said the government would not increase the number of security personnel in Poso.

Meanwhile, about a thousand Poso residents staged a demonstration outside the Provincial Legislative Assembly building in Palu, capital of Central Sulawesi, on Monday, urging the government to withdraw all Mobile Brigade police personnel from Poso. The demonstrators who had first gathered at the Baitul Rahman mosque and then marched to the provincial legislature said the presence of Mobile Brigade personnel in Poso had led to conflicts, rather than creating peace. They said Mobile Brigade policemen fired at people arbitrarily in the Gebangrejo area in Poso on the eve of the Idul Fitri on October 22. They asked the government to set up a fact finding team to look into the conflict which had killed a number of people and injured many others.

Why are they protesting? Brimob are looking for weapons and trying to catch the terrorists. Don't they want peace? The police were attacked by a mob of 300 militants with guns, molotov cocktails, rocks and fire bombs and responded to defend themselves. Guns and fire bombs. Hmmm. Weapons the police were searching for. Pretty obvious that members of the mob were probably amongst the ones that police were looking for and that these protestors are militants or supporters of the militants. And who were leading the protests? Adnan Arsal of the Poso Islamic Struggle Brotherhood and Sugiyanto Kaimudin of the Islamic Defenders Front, both militant paramilitary organizations with terrorist links to Jemaah Islamiyah and Al-Qaeda. Gee, do you think they may have a reason for wanting Brimob to stop weapon searches and the search for the killers of two Christian pastors and three Christian high school girls as well as many Christians killed by bombs recently?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Government appeases Islamic militants in Poso

Palu, Central Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - The government agreed with Muslim figures in terror-riddled Poso town to set up a reconstruction team to look into a clash between mobile brigade personnel and Poso residents last week, a spokesperson said.

The decision to form the team which would also be tasked to investigate bloody crimes in the former sectarian conflict-wrecked town was made in a meeting between Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Muslim figures here Sunday night.

Kalla and Malino declarator for a peaceful Poso of Muslim group, Adnan Arsal, also agreed that the proposed team would be placed under coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs and that its members would comprise local administration officials and public leaders.

"We also suggest that the reconstruction team comprised Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI) members," Adnan said.

Why are the fascist, racist, anti-Christian MUI being dragged into this?

Adnan said the government promised to study Poso Muslim organization leaders` ultimatum that the government must withdraw all non-organic mobile brigade personnel from Poso.

"The government promised to withdraw all mobile brigade personnel if security condition in Poso is conducive," said the Poso Muslim People Struggle Brotherhood Forum chairman.

He also said thousands of Poso Muslims would stage a protest in Poso on Monday to urge the government to withdraw the mobile brigade personnel from Poso.

Adnan said the closed-door meeting between Kalla and 30 Poso Muslim leaders, most of them were Malino declarators, gave positive contribution to efforts to create a peaceful Poso although other public leaders of different faith notably Christian group were not invited to the gathering.

"It doesn`t matter that the meeting between vice president and the Poso Muslim leaders was separated from a meeting with Kalla and Poso Christian leaders," Adnan said.

Meanwhile, other Poso Muslim leader who attended the meeting Sofyan Farid Lembah said Adnan pledged to hand over wanted Muslim people suspected of being involved in deadly crimes.

Malino declarator team was set up by the government to end sectarian conflict that beset Poso town years ago.

The closed door-meeting took place for more than two hours beginning at 9.15 p.m. at a Central Sulawesi development planning office hall.

Kalla held a similar meeting with Poso Christian leaders following the meeting with Poso Mulim leaders at a adjacent gubernatorial hall.

Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo AS, National Police chief Gen Sutanto, National Intelligence Body (BIN) chairman Syamsier Siregar, Social Affairs Minister Bachtiar Chamsyah, Justice and Human Rights Affairs Minister Hamid Awaluddin and Home Affairs Minister M. Maruf were present at the two meetings.

In the meantime, Reverend Lies Sigilipu of the Poso Christian camp asked the government to help revive economic sector in Poso.

Many Poso residents still live in poverty as there was no all-out effort to bring economic life back on track following years of sectarian conflict, he said.

"Economic recovery should be felt by grass-root level. They have witnessed that officials can buy super Kijang vans while they can only afford SuperMie instant noodles," he said. Meanwhile, Central Sulawesi Christian Church Synod Council acting chairman Rev. Ishak Pole asked national police chief to give the people information on an investigation into a series of deadly crimes in Central Sulawesi notably killing of two reverends in Poso and Palu.

Masked men shot reverend Susianti Tinulele to death when she was delivering a sermon in Poso in July 2004 and Rev. Irianto was killed when he was buying building material in Palu two weeks ago.

Two Christian school girls were multilated by unidentified men in Poso last year.

And three high school girls were beheaded a year ago.

The meeting between Kalla and 20 Poso Christian figures was held for about one hour starting 00.15 Monday.

Kalla wanted to gather the Poso Muslim and Christian figures and convey result of agreements for signature before he return to Jakarta on Monday.

Why weren't both Muslims and Christians consulted at the same time? What are the Muslims hiding? VP Kalla was supposed to come in and help find those Muslims responsible for the recent acts of terrorism. He is also supposed to make a task force to bring to light those who were responsible for the conflict in the first place. This smells of a conspiracy by the government with miltant Adnan Arsal. His group is responsible, along with the Islamic Defenders Front, for the recent terrorism in Poso. The Islamic Struggle Brotherhood Forum has ties to the suspects of the beheadings of the three high school girls and bombings throughout Central Sulawesi and a teacher from Adnan's school is a main suspect in the beheadings. Why is the government even dealing with this militant? I can see where this is going. Brimob will be pulled out, attacks on Christians will increase, Christians will have to defend themselves and the conflict will start up again. We'll be right back to square one again and the cycle of violence will continue. If the conflict starts up again you can bet it's because the government wants it to start up again.

Hundreds of protestors demand Brimob pullout from Poso

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Hundreds of Indonesian Muslims protested Monday in the religiously-divided town of Poso, demanding the pullout of police paramilitary units sent as reinforcements to maintain order, a report said. Poso has been hit by a resurgence of unrest since three Christians were executed a month ago in Central Sulawesi province for inciting violence against Muslims in 2000.

About 700 protestors from various Islamic organisations also demanded that lawmakers set up a fact-finding team to look into the possible involvement of Indonesia's feared paramilitary unit, Brimob, in the latest violence, AFP reported. Shops and businesses were closed as a precaution during the protest. ElShinta radio reported from the town that several protestors were allowed to meet with Poso's local council members.

These Islamic organizations ( read: Islamic militants) are trying to divert attention away from the actual terrorists and putting the blame on Brimob.

The protestors were heard reading out their version of events alleging Brimob involvement, with one claiming police had initiated an upsurge in violence since October 22 by shooting into a crowd.

The only ones causing the violence are the Muslims involved in the Islamic militant groups.

National police spokesman Anton Bahrul Alam was quoted by the Koran Tempo as saying Sunday that police had evidence that the mob was responsible for kickstarting the unrest on the day by shooting at a police armoured vehicle.At least one civilian was killed and two injured in the melee which police say began after Muslim residents attacked police who were about to conduct a search for weapons and ammunition.

The police are exactly correct! The protesters do not represent the Muslim community and represent militant groups Islamic Defenders Front and Islamic Struggle Brotherhood of Poso. They are cause of the recent terrorism and conflict with police. As I have called for before, if these two groups are removed from the situation then peace will return to Central Sulawesi. Local Muslims want the militants out.

A week earlier a Christian minister was shot dead in broad daylight in the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu. Muslims in Poso have accused Brimob of favouring the Christian camp.

Poso and its surrounding district became a focal point of communal violence between Muslims and Christians which claimed about 1,000 lives in 2000-2001 and unrest has continued intermittently since then.

Vice President Yusuf Kalla, who was behind a government-sponsored peace pact that ended the bulk of the violence, met with Muslim and Christian leaders in Palu on Sunday in a bid to ease tensions.

And Kalla also understands who the cause of the problem is. If Brimob is removed then the Islamic militants are free to terrorize Christians and try to drive all Christians out of Central Sulawesi. If Brimob stays, then the militants will protest, cause civil disharmony and attack the police. The only solution is to get rid of the militants.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Remembering the schoolgirls

It was a year ago today, October 29 2005, that four Christian high school girls were attacked by barbaric Islamic militants while on their way to their private school in Poso, Central Sulawesi. Theresia Morangke 15 (above left), Alfita Poliwo 17 (above right), and Ida Yarni Sambue 15, were beheaded by machete wielding Muslims while Noviana Melawa, now 16 (below) was able to escape with a deep slash wound to the side of her head. (see article here) Noviana remains under police protection as she is a witness to the brutal crime.

Less than two weeks later on November 8 2005, two more female students, Yuli Siti Nairani and Ivone, both 17 were shot at point blank range. Both survived gunshot wounds to the jaw/neck area.

A group of Jemaah Islamiyah linked Islamic militants led by Hasanuddin of the Poso Mujahidin is under detention at Polri headquarters, suspected of carrying out the beheadings, several bombings including the bombing at Tentena Market and other acts of terrorism. Police have reported that seven members admitted to taking part in the beheadings. Members of Hasanuddin's group are also thought to have carried out the assassination of Pastor Susianti Tinulele and the recent killing of Pastor Irianto in Palu. This group trained in a terrorist training camp in Maluku and several members claim ties with one of the Bali Bombings masterminds, Noordin M Top. This group is also linked to militants, Islamic Defenders Front and Islamic Struggle Brotherhood Forum in Poso, who local Christians suspect are currently carrying out recent terror attacks in Poso and wanting to re-open the conflict. Beheading suspect Sahal Alamry was an Islamic guru at Adnan Arsal's Alamanah boarding school. Adnan Arsal, also president of the Islamic Struggle Brotherhood and Sugiyanto Kaimudin of the Islamic Defenders Front have called for the removal of extra police and military from the Poso area, claiming these security forces are biased against Muslims and have threatened action against the government and local daily life of those in Poso. A mob of 300 members of both Islamic militant groups went on a rampage and attacked police with guns, firebombs, rocks and homemade weapons several nights ago resulting in one militant being killed by police firing at the mob in self-protection.

It has been one year now and the Christian community of Central Sulawesi and families of the victims are still waiting for the police to solve the case and for justice to be served. The lack of action in naming killers and bringing them to trial has Christians suspecting that there is more to these cases behind the scenes and military or police were also involved, resulting in a delay of the judicial process and justice to be carried out. Until justice is served, we pray for the families and friends of the school girls, for the healing of those who survived the attacks and that the militants who caused to this be tried and receive full sentences for their crimes. Theresia, Yarni and Alfita, may God rest your souls and we have not forgotten you. God Bless You!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Vice president: Grant more power to Poso police

Jusuf Kalla said new anti-terrorism laws were needed to restore peace to the area. The response of civil society: first the government should discover those truly responsible for sectarian clashes that took place between 1999 and 2001.
Makassar (AsiaNews) – Violence in Poso in the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi will not stop unless new anti-terror legislation is drawn up and applied in the region, said Indonesia’s Vice President, Jusuf Kalla. He is also the man behind the Malino Peace Accord that was meant to put an end to bloody conflict between Muslims and Christians in Poso in 2001. However, residents feel a more urgent step would be in-depth, transparent investigations to discover those truly responsible for igniting that violence, as no names have come out as yet.
Speaking in Makassar, South Sulawesi, after celebrations marking the end of Ramadan, Kalla described the security forces as “impotent” to tackle terrorist acts in the area, the most recent being the killing of a Protestant pastor on 16 October. The vice-president said he believed it was necessary to apply anti-terrorism laws similar to the Malaysian International Security Act (ISA). He said: “In this way, the police will be able to capture terrorist suspects more easily on the basis of far less legal evidence and thus guarantee peace and order.” He added: “What has happened recently in Poso is terrorism and adequate measures are needed to face it.”
Kalla’s statements came after the police chief, General Sutanto, said his men were having problems to manage Poso because of the inadequacy of laws at their disposal.
After violent clashes last week between police and residents of the Muslim village of Gebang Rejo, many called for the withdrawal of security forces from Poso but Kalla persisted in stressing the need for their presence.
But exponents of civil society in Poso believe that what is really needed to bring peace back to the province is to discover those truly responsible for inter-faith clashes between 1999 and 2001, but it appears as if the authorities have no intention of doing so. Among those calling for the truth are Adnan Arsal, chairman of the Poso Muslim Brotherhood Forum, the governor of central Sulawesi and the Christian community.

Adnan Arsal of the Poso Islamic Struggle Brotherhood Forum and Sugiyanto Kaimudin of the Islamic Defenders Front are leading the terrorism in Poso at the moment. I don't see how Adnan would want the truth to come out. He is linked with the slaughter of Christians in Central Sulawesi and associated with Jemaah Islamiyah, Laskar Jihad and Islamic Defenders Front. Many of his former students at his boarding school (pesantren) are militants/terrorists. He calls for the removal of security forces and biased police. Why? What is he hiding? The fact that they are trying to build a militia to put all political power in the hands of Muslims and eradicate all Christians out of Central Sulawesi? The police are not biased. It's only Muslims causing the terror. Why should Christians be investigated if they are the victims and remaining calm, waiting for the police to catch the perpetrators? The police should be able to do their jobs now that there isn't a militant backer as the vice-president anymore. Laskar Jihad supporter ex-VP Hamzah Haz is gone now.

These men and their groups need to be eradicated out of Central Sulawesi. The names of those who are responsible for the conflict are available but the government doesn't want to prosecute them. People like Arief Patanga and his brother Agfar, Aliansa Tompo and others come to mind. This resulted in three Christians being executed instead as scapegoats for those responsible. The government wants this problem to just go away because they are covering up their involvement. The local people know this and don't want to let the government get away with this. Military and politicians should be standing trial for their parts in the conflict. Until the militants are gone and the people of Central Sulawesi can see some justice and get some closure, the conflict is going to continue.

Government to use anti-terrorism laws to deal with Poso incidents

Makassar, S Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - Vice President Jusuf Kalla said here on Thursday that recent incidents in Poso were not conflicts but terror actions and therefore police were expected to use anti-terrorism law to deal with them.
He called on the police to thoroughly investigate the case. "I hope the police would investigate thoroughly all terror cases in Poso," he said.
He said there were no conflicts in Poso. He said what had happened there were in fact terror actions. In view of that he urged the police and the military (TNI) to thoroughly investigate them and find the roots of all the incidents.
He reiterated that there will be no security forces pullout from the region.
He said the shootings by the police that led to the death of a civilan and injury of several others were in line with standard procedures.
However he said that the case would also be investigated and there would be punishment for those from both the community or the police/TNI if found guilty.
The chief of the 7th/Wirabuana Military Command, Major General Arief Budi Sampurno, earlier said that Vice President Jusuf Kalla would visit Palu in the near future but no date had been set yet.
"He would visit Palu not Poso to meet with community, religious, government and security leaders in Central Sulawesi" he said.
He said the present situation in Poso had in general been under control and quite secure.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No Brimob withdrawals from Poso

Makassar (ANTARA News) - The chief of the 7th/Wirabuana Military Command, Major General Arief Budi Sampurno, said on Wednesday there would be no withdrawals of Police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel from the Poso region in Central Sulawesi. In a statement to ANTARA News after a closed-door meeting between security officials and regional community and religious figures in Poso, he said their number would even be increased because people there still wanted the military (TNI) and the police to maintain security in the region. "They asked that cooperation between the TNI and the police as well as the community be improved further in the future," he said. The meeting was attended by the chief of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), Syamsir Siregar, as well as several high-ranking officials from the TNI and Police Headquarters and the office of the coordinating minister for political , legal and security affairs. The meeting was held following increased tension in the region which was the former scene of communal conflicts. Unknown gunmen killed a Christian priest in the region recently.
Sampurno said during the meeting Syamsir Siregar did not talk much as he focused on listening to information from the community leaders. Syamsir immediately left for Jakarta after the meeting. Sampurno said the situation in Poso was in general peaceful. "There are no obvious signs of unrest," he said, adding that if there were any, they were shown by a small group of people who were not satisfied with the security maintenance efforts made by the authorities. "They are not satisfied because local security has been tightened," he said. He said the TNI would even send an army engineers` unit to Poso to rebuild people`s houses burned during the conflict of several years ago. He said the project would target 1,000 houses and be started in November.

The only ones who are not happy with security being tightened are the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and its supporters. Sugiyanto Kaimudin made it quite clear that FPI demanded national troops withdraw from the area, threatening to disrupt the activities of the local government, markets and people's lives if they refused. "We will paralyze activities in Poso" said Sugiyanto. Security hampers their mission of terrorism and continuing the conflict in the area.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Journalists biased by cash in Indonesia?

Oct 21, 2006 Denpasar --- News conferences in Indonesia tend to be catered affairs, journalists usually receive a takeaway box of food and underneath is often a brown envelope.
Inside will be a wad of banknotes, in appreciation of their attendance and expectation of a positive story.
They call it "envelope journalism," a custom not only practised by flash lawyers and dodgy developers; major corporations, government agencies and even charities regularly distribute cash to the local media.
On a couple of occasions gifts have been given to foreign journalists, but they have handed them back.
This week, two Government ministries conceded to The Age that they continued to hand out envelopes of cash to journalists who attended press events, despite President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's campaign to eradicate corruption across his nation.
The pay-offs are longstanding, but have grown more sophisticated in recent years, according to insiders. Press conference envelopes normally contain between $10 and $100, but many journalists have established bank accounts where corporations can directly wire much larger amounts.
Tomorrow marks Idul Fitri, the end of the major Muslim celebration of Ramadan, a traditional time of gift giving, when journalists expect and even demand contributions from the individuals and authorities they cover.
Editor-in-chief of the Jakarta Post Endy Bayuni concedes the practice presents a major ethical dilemma. "They don't say it, but there's an understanding they expect you to write positively.
"Normally people turn a blind eye to a small payment, but sometimes it's much more and can be an attempt to bribe a journalist.
"Around Muslim holidays it gets even crazier, because some government authorities and companies feel they have to give gifts to journalists."
This week many local journalists were demanding an annual hand-out to celebrate the end of Ramadan, but some take the process a step further, said Mr Bayuni.
"They ask for money, threatening businesses with negative publicity. It's like extortion, it happens quite a lot."
Indonesian journalists' salaries are meagre, often exceeded by envelope income.
"Some organisations don't pay any salary," said Mr Bayuni. "They just give the journalists a press card and let them raise money from news sources."
The issue received some coverage in local media this week, but only because one provincial administration in the town of Semarang complained it was receiving too many requests from individuals posing as journalists.
Nearly 500 people had visited government offices demanding cash to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
Agus Utomo, head of the mass media section at the provincial public relations and information agency, said they were required to produce identity cards. "How much money they were given, I don't know," he said.
A second official said the journalists received about $10 each.
A senior national Government official confirmed he regularly made payments to journalists at press conferences. If they requested an Idul Fitri bonus they would also receive it, he said.
One journalist who covers the military happily admitted to receiving payments from officials, up to and including the head of the Defence Ministry. "Of course I have," he said. "I cover security affairs, so I often cover army issues.
"Usually the army provides envelopes. These people will think we're arrogant if we refused taking it. I always take the money and share it with the soldiers. That's the way."
Mr Bayuni said several mainstream media organisations, including the Jakarta Post, had adopted strict rules against journalists taking envelopes. He has had to sack one reporter for demanding money from news sources.
"If the messengers themselves are corrupt, how do you trust the message?" he asked. "We need to address this problem seriously so we can
be part of the campaign against corruption. But at the moment we are part of the problem."
With Idul Fitri looming, Dr Yudhoyono's administration banned giving gifts to senior officials and judges, but retreated after complaints from officials and retailers, saying the value of the gifts should be limited.
State Minister for Administrative Reform Taufik Effendi this week pronounced that small gifts such as batik shirts were OK, but "it is prohibited to give car keys for instance".
Previously judges and others have received keys as an Idul Fitri gift, keys that just happened to fit the new Jaguar parked outside.

So can we take any stories by journalists in Indonesia as unbiased truth or should we suspect all to be tainted by money? Should the accuracy of every story reporting on the Indonesian military or government be regarded with suspect? Or is a negative report a sign of no payment? I guess the reporter from AP in the previous posting got a cash envelope for painting terrorist group Islamic Defenders Front in a harmless positive light by calling them a Muslim association.

Islamic leaders threaten to cause chaos in Poso

POSO, Indonesia (AP) - A church was set on fire Tuesday in a central Indonesian region plagued by sectarian violence since last month's executions of three Roman Catholic militants, police said. No one was injured in the blaze.
The arson attack in the town of Poso on Sulawesi island apparently followed rumors that an Islamic school had been torched, said police spokesman Lt. Col. Muhammad Kilat, urging residents to be on alert for "a campaign to fuel unrest. "An investigation was being carried out, he said, adding that "arsonists were behind the Eklesia church blaze." Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation, with 90 percent ( just over 80%) of its 220 million people practicing the faith, but large section of Sulawesi have roughly equal number of Christians and Muslims. Poso was the center of hostilities between the two religions in 1998-2002, when more than 1,000 (2,000) people died. Violence flared anew following the Sept. 22 executions of three Christian men convicted of leading a militia that carried out a 2000 attack on an Islamic school, killing at least 70 people seeking shelter. Critics say the Christians did not get a fair trial and questioned the role religion played in their sentencing, noting that few Muslims were punished for four years of bloodshed, and none to more than 15 years in jail. Mobs in Sulawesi have killed two Muslim traders and a Christian priest in recent weeks, and there have been at least seven bomb blasts, most targeting empty buildings. Security forces opened fire on a gang of rock-wielding Muslim youths in Poso over the weekend, killing one after they went on a rampage, torching police vehicles and homes. Islamic leaders protested the slaying Tuesday, and demanded that national troops withdraw from the area, threatening to disrupt the activities of the local government, markets and people's lives if they refused. "We will paralyze activities in Poso," said Sugiyanto Kaimudin, a representative of a Muslim association, though he provided no details. National police chief General Sutanto told reporters in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, that his men had acted in self-defense and said they were needed in Sulawesi to maintain order.

Sugiyanto Kaimudin, a representative of a Muslim association? Gee, what association might that be? Not the same Sugiyanto Kaimudin of the militant, paramilitary, terrorist and jihad supporting Islamic Defenders Front (FPI)? You know, the terrorist thugs who routinely attack foreign embassies in Jakarta when protesting, tried sweeping Americans out of Indonesia in 2001, close churches, support Abu Bakr Ba'asyir, attack Western interests during Ramadan, have ties with Jemaah Islamiyah, Laskar Jihad and possibly al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and keep pressing for Indonesia to become an Islamic state. The same terrorist thugs who joined in with Laskar Jihad on the the slaughter of Christians in Maluku and Sulawesi. Nice try on the whitewashing Associated (with terrorists) Press!!

So Islamic leaders ( and by that it should be stated, FPI only) are basically taking the side of arsonists who burned Eklesia church after false rumors were spread about the burning of an Islamic boarding school, a mob who attacked police with homemade guns, rocks, molotov cocktails and homemade bombs after they burned police vehicles and torched Christian houses, and don't want police to search for weapons, bombs, militants and the killer of Rev. Irianto which is what the police were doing when the mob attacked them. I see. And you're angry at security forces and feel you are being persecuted? Uh huh. So what you're saying is the police shouldn't have defended themselves from 300 gun-toting, weapon weilding and fire bomb throwing Muslims? Hmmm. Let's do a little check on the story so far, Islamic leaders, shall we?

Who is attacking the police, bombing Christian interests, and burning homes and churches? Christians?

And who wants to disrupt local governments, markets and people's lives? Christians?
And it would appear that who is fuelling the conflict with terrorism? Christians?

I think it's pretty obvious from the evidence, who wants unrest in Poso, who wants the conflict to continue, and who is responsible for the terror continuing in Central Sulawesi. The government has a tough job ahead getting rid of these criminal militant terrorist Islamic elements like Islamic Defenders Front out of the area. Until these elements are removed, there will be no peace for local Christians and Muslims and the terrorism perpetrated by these Muslims will continue. We'll see if the government is serious about tackling the conflict or whether they're part of the problem. I won't hold my breath and wait for a quick solution. Just remember who is really persecuted in Indonesia.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bali three ready for execution

Three Bali bombing masterminds, Amrozi, Imam Samudera and Ali Gufron are ready for the executions to proceed. "We are ready for the executions whenever" said Ali Gufron after finishing Idul Fitri prayers at Batu Nusakambangan Prison in Central Jawa today. The three were allowed to perform prayers outside of their solitary confinement cells in the Super Maximum Security section of the prison and immediately returned after prayers said head warden Sudijanto. There are seven rooms in the Super Maximum Security section and the Bali three are the only inmates occupying the section. There is an empty cell between each of three's cells to prevent communication.

When the executions are to take place has still not been announced but many people around the world are waiting for justice to be served and are anticipating the executions with great interest.

Muslim group that attacked police also burned church

JAKARTA, Oct 24 (Reuters) - An armed group set fire to a Christian church in Indonesia's Poso region on Tuesday, a day after it clashed with a patrol party in the troubled region, a police officer said. Poso in Central Sulawesi has been tense since the executions last month of three Christian militants over their role in the Muslim-Christian violence that gripped the region from 1998-2001. "A church was burned at around 0015," Poso police chief Rudy Sufariady told Reuters, adding that there were no casualties from the incident. On Monday, a police patrol fought with a group armed with automatic weapons, home-made pipe bombs and stones. One person died in the clash and three were wounded, including a police officer. When asked if the perpetrators of the attack on the church were from the group that clashed with police on Monday, Sufriady said: "That's for certain, it's the same group". Central Sulawesi police spokesman Muhammad Kila said police had not made any arrests and were still investigating the incident, which was close to the site of Monday's clash. "The roof of the back section of the church was damaged. The motives remain unknown until now. "Muslims in Indonesia are holding Eid al-Fitr festivities this week to mark the end of the fasting season of Ramadan.

National Police Chief Sutanto claimed on TV that the violence now was not a community conflict between local Muslims and Christians, but actual acts of terrorism. He stopped short of saying that this is a 'Muslim" group causing the terrorist acts but all evidence points to that. We'll see what tonight brings. It is doubtful that Brimob (elite security Police) will be planning any raids tonight with it being Idul Fitri today in Indonesia. Tomorrow may be a different story. If a holdback on arresting this group of terrorists is evident, you can be rest assured that the terrorists are involved with and supported by the military or government and Brimob was told to back off and leave them alone.

Faith powerful weapon against enemies says cleric

Bogor (ANTARA News) - In his Idul Fitri sermon at the Bogor Botanical Gardens here on Tuesday Muslim cleric Ahmad Degel said that faith was a powerful weapon against the enemies of Islam. "Besides sophisticated weapons, faith is the most powerful armour against the enemies of Islam because God has promised to help those who have faith," Ahmad Degel said before thousands of Muslims gathered at the gardens. Without elaborating who Islam`s enemies were, Ahmad Degel pointed out that faith could defeat enemies carrying man-made sophisticated weapons. "With gravel, the Palestinian people were able to defend their country from the grip of zionist Israel," the cleric said, adding that because of faith and strong belief in God Almighty, the Palestinian people were able to continue resisting their enemies. He said Western countries at present were exercising all the power they had to defeat Muslims. "Therefore, Muslims unity is absolutely necessary. Let us struggle together to strengthen our unity and faith," he said. Ahmad ended his sermon by praying for the nation`s leaders so that they could fullfil their tasks and responsibilities under divine guidance to lead the country toward a better tomorrow.

With all due respect, Western countries are not exercising 'all' the power they have to defeat Muslims. They are showing restraint, to only get the terrorists. If it were the other way around, would the Muslims show such restraint? If 'all' power was used against 'all' Muslims, then the Arab world, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, most of Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Central Asian states would all be decimated from nuclear bombs. Then Imam Ahmad, you could say that the West used all of its power to defeat Muslims.

Muslims to create peaceful zone in Papua?

Jayapura (ANTARA News) - Muslims in Indonesia`s easternmost province of Papua are committed to turning the province into a peaceful zone, local Muslim figures said here on Tuesday. After performing Idul Fitri prayer at Jayapura Grand Mosque here, Hi Ridwan and Hi Udin said the Muslims in Papua, especially in capital Jayapura, were committed to maintaining religious harmony in the province. They made the statement in a bid to uphold a declaration made by the leaders of five major religions in Papua to make the province a peaceful zone in the country. Both Hi Ridwan and Hi Udin also called on the Muslims and the people in other parts across the country not to be easily provoked by irresponsible parties or groups who intentionally create disorder in the community. "If ever a party or a group of people who dare to create chaos in Papua, the Muslims here will arrest them and bring them to court to undergo existing legal process in the country," Ridwan and Udin noted. The prayer that started at 7 a.m. local time was led by Adrus Al-Hamid, chief of provincial religious affairs ministry office. Meanwhile in his sermon, Moh Habib, the dean of Jayapura Al-Fatah State Islamic College, called on the Muslims in the city to coexist in perfect harmony with people of other faiths.

So, let me get this straight. "If ever a party or a group of people who dare to create chaos in Papua, the Muslims here will arrest them and bring them to court to undergo existing legal process in the country," Ridwan and Udin noted. Well then, start arresting Laskar Jihad and TNI (military). No? I didn't think so. Lip service by Muslims again. Maybe your intentions are good but the reality is until Papua is given freedom from the opression of the Indonesian government, there will be no peace. I pray that the situation doesn't turn into another Timor Leste (East Timor).

Church burned and President asks to find root cause of violence in Poso

Gee Mr President, that should be a no-brainer. Starts with an 'M' and are followers of the largest religion in Indonesia. Now that you know the root cause, do something to stop the violence!

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has asked the Home Affairs Ministry to gather as much information as possible in an effort to seek the root cause of the high incidence of violence in the Central Sulawesi town of Poso. Home Affairs Minister M Ma`ruf spoke about the President`s request while attending an "open-house" function at Vice President Jusuf Kalla`s official residence in Jakarta on Tuesday. "The president wants us to solve the Poso problem peacefully. Of course, we have to reevaluate the real cause of the recent incidents," the minister said.

That's a polite way of sidestepping the use of the 'M' word. Let me say it for you..... Muslims. Or Militants. Ask Brimob who attacked them the other night with stones and Molotov cocktails.

According to Ma`ruf, his ministry would cooperate with other related institutions, including the police, to find the root cause of the conflict in Poso. In addition, he said the Home Affairs Ministry would also hold dialogs with the local community and religous figures. "The dialogs will be conducted to inventorize the real causes of the problem," he said. In Poso early Tuesday morning, the Eklesia church on Jalan Pulau Seram was gutted by fire. According to information from Poso, the fire which started somewhere inside the church at 00.20 am was brought under control in less than two hours. There was no report of casualties in the incident.

Protestant Eklesia church has been attacked previously on countless occasions by Muslims during the conflict and is always in a constant state of being repaired from fire or bomb attacks. It seems like it is a major target for Muslims to attack. A bomb previously went off outside the church just three weeks ago.

Indonesian government rewards terrorists

The Indonesian government continues to reward terrorists by cutting their prison sentences twice a year on major holidays. In the real world, this defies logic but in Indonesia this makes complete sense. Remissions have allowed convicted terrorists such as Abu Bakr Ba'asyir, to go free early and continue to spew their hate message against non-Muslims and the West.

From a recent article:

Bali blast survivor Peter Hughes said the latest round of sentence cuts would be a slap in the face to families of the 202 victims, including 88 Australians, who died when Islamic militants detonated two bombs on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in 2002.
The 46-year-old said he did not understand why anyone would want to "reward terrorists".
"I think the Indonesian Government, by doing this, they don't understand that it becomes a slap in the face for us, and it's actually a reward for their (terrorists') cause, which is pathetic," Mr Hughes said.
The Indonesian Government is reportedly considering changes to laws governing sentence remissions which would force terrorists and drug offenders, among others, to serve at least two-thirds of their sentences.

See the full story here at Victims condemn Bali bombing releases

Monday, October 23, 2006

Two militants from the 2002 Bali bombings are free

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Two Islamic militants jailed for the Bali bombings that killed 202 people will be freed Tuesday and 10 others will have their sentences reduced to mark the end of the Islamic fasting month, officials said. Indonesia traditionally marks national holidays by cutting prison terms for inmates who exhibit good behavior, usually by several months. But the decision is likely to anger countries that lost citizens in the 2002 attacks on two crowded nightclubs.
Eighty-eight of those killed were Australians. Sirojul Munir, sentenced to five years for hiding one of the masterminds of the suicide bombings, will leave the jail in East Kalimantan's capital of Balikpapan on Tuesday, said Edi, a prison official who uses a single name. The other militant, whose identity was not released, will be released from the main prison on Bali island, said Anak Agung Mayun Mataram, the justice ministry's head of Bali's prison division. A total of 33 people were jailed over the 2002 Bali blasts, the most deadly in a string of attacks in Indonesia blamed on the al-Qaida-linked militant group Jemaah Islamiyah. Three -- Amrozi, Ali Gufron and Imam Samudra -- are scheduled to be executed and three others are serving life sentences. Under Indonesian law, they are not eligible for prison sentence reductions.

What's amazing is the local news media has completely ignored this except for Detiknews.com (in Indonesian). The second militant is Mudjarot, who will be released tomorrow from Kerobokan Prison in Denpasar. He had one month and fifteen days knocked off his total sentence in remissions for good behavior.

Mudjarot was also involved with Dulmatin (currently hiding and training with Muslim militants from Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines), Hamza, Firmansyah, Mubarok, Ali Imron and Amrozi in the 2000 Christmas Eve bombing in Mojokerto.

Another member of the Bali terrorists released early after receiving a ridiculously light sentence by the Muslim Indonesian government. Ali Imron received a life sentence for his role in Bali Bom 1 whilst his brothers Amrozi and Imam Samudera are to be executed for their parts.

Police clash with Muslim mob in Poso

Police clashed with a Muslim mob in Indonesia's central Sulawesi province, killing one man and injuring two, witnesses and police said Monday. One of the injured named Tugiharjo, aged 35, had a gunshot wound to the left elbow and the other injured, Jalih Pamungkas, had a chest wound.
An unidentified member of the mob died of gunshot wounds on the way to the hospital, police chief Lt. Col. Rudy Sufahriadi said.
The violence began late Sunday in central Poso. During two hours of unrest late Sunday night into early Monday morning, police fired into the crowd after being attacked by a stone-throwing mob, Sufahriadi said. Police opened fire when a mob threw stones and Molotov cocktails at a new police checkpoint in a Muslim-dominated area. Police spokesman M. Kilat said "The people were not happy with patrols and searches conducted by police in their area following a small explosion Sunday", he was quoted as saying. There were no casualties in the blast. Police were conducting house to house searches for weapons, bombs and militants when the mob formed and attacked the police.
"We are still investigating the shooting and the situation in Poso is now under control," he said, describing the police reaction as self-defense. It was unclear whether any members of the crowd returned fire.

Security tight in East Nusa Tenggara

The East Nusa Tenggara Police will deploy 10,000 officers, to be assisted by the military, law and order policemen and church youths, to safeguard Idul Fitri celebrations on Tuesday and Wednesday in Kupang and other East Nusa Tenggara cities.
East Nusa Tenggara Police chief Comr. Marthen Radja said Saturday that the security operation, codenamed "Ketupat Komodo", would be focused on the mosques and open fields where Muslims would be saying their Idul Fitri prayers.
"We will deploy 10,000 personnel. Principally they will be stationed at all mosques and city centers. The security condition in the province has thus far been under control," Marthen said.
Besides the security at mosques, the police will also secure other places prone to disturbances, he said.
"We want the Muslims to celebrate Idul Fitri securely and peacefully," he said.
All major roads, bus terminals, seaports and the airport will be tightly guarded to facilitate transportation and activities among local people during the Idul Fitri festivities, he added.

Every year here in North Sulawesi, Christians are deployed to assist in maintaining security for the Muslim celebrations of Idul Fitri and Idul Adha. In reciprocation, Muslims help maintain security during Easter and Christmas celebrations by Christians. This is how religious harmony and respect works.

One injured in Poso house shootout

One person has been injured after a gunfight between security forces and locals that broke out in Poso late on Sunday night.
The violence occurred after policemen surrounded a house in the city's Tanah Runtuh district, where several suspected militants were believed to be hiding out. Alerted to the police presence, a group of people began shooting at and hurling rocks at the officers. According to a witness, Muhammaddong, one person was injured from a stone.

Government urged to overcome security disturbance in Poso

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government is urged to work harder in its bid to overcome various security problems, especially after overnight tensions between people and security personnel in conflict-hit Poso, Central Sulawesi, Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin said here on Monday. "I received information this morning from Poso Muslim spokesman Adnan Arzal that an Islamic boarding school was attacked by a group of unidentified people on Sunday night," Din said after performing Idul Fitri prayers at the Blok S Square in South Jakarta. Following the incident, the Muhammadiyah chairman urged the government, security agencies in particular, to work even harder to arrest the intellectual actors behind the attack. Din added that if the government failed to do so, security disturbance in Poso would fearfully continue to get out of hand. "The attack was a provocation. Therefore, religious community from both Christian and Muslim sides should exercise self restraint in order to prevent the incident from widening," Din noted. On the occasion, he also mentioned that there was information on the presence of several foreign institutions in Central Sulawesi, including Poso. "According to the information, there are several foreign institutions in Central Sulawesi including Poso which are part of the conflict because they are unlikely working sincerely and seriously to develop the local people," he said. Despite the latest security disturbance, he called on Muslims across the country, especially in Poso, to remain calm and avoid further violence.

Government has not tackled Sulawesi conflict optimally: Amien Rais

Thank you for stating the obvious Pak Amien. Verbal diarrhea from an Indonesian Moonbat. If the government was serious about solving the conflict, they would get rid of the militant element in the area, deploy even amounts of Muslim and Christian police and get their security forces out of there, who have attacked Christians in the past and are suspected to be behind recent bombings, which just add to the tension in the area.

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - The relapse of the Central Sulawesi towns of Poso and Palu into an unstable security situation is an indication the government has yet to deal with the conflict in the religiously-divided province optimally, former People`s Consultative Assembly (MPR) chairman Amiern Rais said. "The tension gripping Poso in the past few days proves that the government has yet to overcome the existing problem there optimally," Amien said after delivering an Idul Fitri sermon at the Trirenggo Square in Bantul district on Monday. He said the government should have given more serious attention to efforts to solve the prolonged conflict there so that the local people did not need to suffer much longer. "The conflict there is a national disaster. Therefore, the government should act wisely and find the best possible solution to the problem and recreate a conducive situation there," Amien said. He said the government should also try to feel the agony of the people of Palu and Poso, and then give new hope and new life to them. "This is all for the sake of the integrity of the Indonesian Republic because all regions are parts of this country. Therefore, if the people in a particular area of the country are in great agony, the central government should also feel it and try to overcome it," Amien said.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fjordman's recommendations for the West

Again, the brilliance of Fjordman is right on the money. The West needs to band together to fight against Islam. Islam is persecuting Westerners in their own countries. Now you are beginning to taste what we go through everyday. Read his essay. Your life and freedom depends upon it.

Recommendations for the West by Fjordman at Gates of Vienna

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bali Bombers allowed to perform Idul Fitri prayers outside cells

Semarang (ANTARA News) - The three death-row Bali I bombers - Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron alias Mukhlas - are slated to perform Idul Fitri (Muslim post-fasting festivity) prayers together with other inmates of the Batu State Penitentiary in Nusakambangan, Cilacap, Central Java, on Tuesday (Oct 24). "The Moslem Legal Defence Team (TPM) has asked for permission for them to perform Idul Fitri prayers (outside their cells) " Sudjianto, chief warden of the Batu State Penitentiary, said when contacted by phone from here on Saturday. He said after the prayer service, the three would immediately be taken back to their cells. Sudjianto said he would ask the Cilacap police to assign some of their personnel to help ensure security at the prison complex on the first day of Idul Fitri (Tuesday). Last year, the three performed Idul Fitri prayers in their own quarters. "At the time, we were afraid to let them out of their cells," Sudjianto said. He said the three had so far been allowed to do their weekly Friday prayers in the prison mosque together with other people. It was also reported the families of the three convicts would visit them on the first day of Idul Fitri.

I see. The Muslim Indonesian government allows three Muslims on death row, who haven't been executed yet for their part in the Bali bombings, to perform prayers for Idul Fitri celebration but three Catholics were denied last rites, which are sacred to Catholics, before being executed by the Muslim Indonesian government. And the government calls itself religiously pluralistic? This is just another example of how the Muslim Indonesian government treats non-Muslims and if you are not a Muslim, you have no rights and receive no justice in Indonesia.

Friday, October 20, 2006

UN to be asked to resolve Central Sulawesi crisis?

Police said Thursday new, tougher security laws were needed to find the murderers of a Protestant minister in strife-torn Poso, Central Sulawesi.
National Police chief Gen. Sutanto said Indonesia needed an Internal Security Act (ISA) akin to those in neighboring Malaysia and Singapore if it wanted to apprehend those who were suspected of perpetrating terrorist acts in the restive Poso region.
"This regulation would enable police to arrest suspects in the terror acts with only a minimum of evidence in our hands," Sutanto told reporters.
He said such evidence could even come in the form of voice recordings of terror suspects. He added that current law requires police to have a broad range of evidence to bring suspects to court.
Indonesia already has an anti-terror law that gives security officials the authority to detain suspected terrorists for a week without a warrant.
The police chief was responding to questions on obstacles police faced in trying to capture the murderers of Rev. Irianto Kongkoli.
Kongkoli was shot dead in broad daylight early last week while visiting a marketplace in Poso. He was the latest victim in a series of violent attacks that have affected both Muslims and Christians in Poso.
Police in Poso said Thursday they had questioned 19 people but none had been arrested. "We hope we will be able to find clues in the coming days," said Central Sulawesi police chief Brig. Gen. Badrodin Haiti.
Adrianus Meliala, criminologist and senior police advisor from Kemitraan Partnership, said the 2005 anti-terror law granted police very limited rights when it came to arresting and examining suspects.
"Police can only arrest suspects under the condition that the person is highly suspicious. Then they can detain them for only up to seven days," he said Thursday.
Adrianus said the current anti-terror law only allowed the police to catch suspects near the time of attacks, rather than enabling them to anticipate and prevent violence. He echoed Sutanto's assessment that the law requires broad evidence to pursue a case against a suspect.
"This is a conventional law because to bring the criminal case to the court the police need five components, such as the perpetrator, victim, witness, expert testimony and evidence," he said.
There have been numerous cases of violence in the area over the last six years. Besides Kongkoli, two Christian ministers have been killed.
On Nov. 16, 2003, Protestant minister Orange Tadjojo was found dead with a gunshot wound. On July 18, 2004, Protestant minister Susianti Tanulele was shot while she delivered a sermon before a congregation in Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi province.
Sutanto's statement met with skepticism among Christian leaders in Jakarta.
Alma Shepard Supit, a Protestant minister who leads the Indonesian Forum for Interreligious Dialog, said the comments only served to reinforce suspicion that the government, and the National Police in particular, were reluctant to take drastic measures to bring security back to Poso.
"The reasoning does not make any sense and it only shows that the police chief does not have the courage to make a tough decision," Supit said in a press conference Thursday.
A number of Christian leaders also called on the government to uncover the truth behind the spate of violence in Poso and its neighboring regions.
"Should the government fail to resolve the case, we are ready to bring this case to an international forum. If need be, we will call on the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to Poso," Catholic priest Theophilus Bela said.
He added the peacekeeping force was necessary because security personnel deployed in the restive region were not entirely neutral in the conflict.
"We even suspect that some of them abet the crimes and that's why we also call on the government to start a purge of the mafia that holds sway in the Indonesian Military (TNI) and the National Police," he added.

I wholeheartedly agreed that international intervention is needed here. You can read my previous comments on posts that the Indonesian government, military and police do not want to end the conflict. Their actions indicate that they support the Muslims only, allow the militants to continue to operate and only give lip service to the non-Muslims and international community. We need international intervention, hopefully by Australia, or some other neutral UN member.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Government to grant special remissions during Lebaran

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will give special jail term remissions to Muslim prisoners on the occasion of the post-fasting festivity locally known as Lebaran, a Law and Human Rights Ministry official said."The special remissions are to be given to prisoners based on Presidential Decree No.174/1999," Soekartono Supangkat, director of statistics and registration at the ministry`s directorate general of correctional institutes, said here Thursday.The remissions, ranging between 15 days and two months, would be given provided the prisoners concerned had behaved well during their stay in prison.He said prisoners were entitled to three kinds of remission in all -- general remission on National Independence Day (August 17), special remission on religious holidays and additional remission to prison inmates who were active in social and humanitarian activities. Soekartono said the Lebaran remissions for Muslim prisoners throughout the country would be symbolically granted at a ceremony at the Pondok Bambu detention center in East Jakarta.

I see, so does that mean Christian and Catholic prisoners get remissions on Christmas and Easter? Hindus on Deepavali? Buddhists on Waisak Day (Buddha's Birthday)? Or does everyone get a remission on Independence Day and only Muslims get extra remissions?

Indonesia vows to remain religiously pluralistic

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia stands by religious pluralism, and radical Islamists are a small minority in the world's most populous Muslim nation, presidential spokesman and adviser Andi Mallarangeng said on Wednesday.

Hmmm.....10% of Indonesians think that the Bali bombings by Jemaah Islamiyah were justified and 1 in 5 Indonesains supports JI. I think that number of radical Islamists might be small but there is definitely support for their actions.

In recent years Indonesia has suffered from a series of deadly attacks on Western targets blamed on Islamic militants, while an increasing number of local and regional rules and regulations have been passed that are in line with Sharia, or Islamic law.
But Mallarangeng, speaking to foreign correspondents and diplomats on a panel about President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's first two years in office, said most Indonesian Muslims rejected the more extreme versions of the faith.
"Indonesian Islam is not like that," he said.
He also said election trends as well as recent polls suggest support for political parties who want to make Indonesia an Islamic state is dropping.

But support for radicalism is increasing. The polls show this evidence.

As far as Yudhoyono's government is concerned, Mallarangeng said: "Pancasila is final in Indonesia as the state foundation ... those people just need to face it."
Propounded as the country's basic political philosophy in 1945 by Indonesian founding father Sukarno, Pancasila includes faith in God, but tolerance of different religions.
Indonesia is the world's fourth most populous country, with 220 million people, 85 percent of whom follow Islam.
However, secular parties have a majority in Indonesia's parliament, and a poll released last Sunday supported Mallarangeng's argument that backing for their Islamist competitors is decreasing.

But the same poll showed around one Indonesian Muslim in 10 endorsed jihad, or holy struggle, violence

and justified bombing attacks on Indonesia's tourist island of Bali, where 202 people were killed in blasts three years ago attributed to the militant Jemaah Islamiah network.
Mallarangeng said Yudhoyono's government was doing all it could to go after violent Islamists.
"I think our record is good. We fight them, we chase them, we destroy their cells, we put them in jail and we sentence them to death," he said.

Sentencing and executing are two different things. Why haven't the terrorists been executed?

In the latest legal development, prosecutors in the Central Java capital of Semarang on Wednesday demanded the death sentence for Islamic militant Subur Sugiyarto, who is on trial for possession of explosives and firearms, the state's Antara news agency reported.
The prosecutors also said Sugiyarto was an associate of fugitive bombing suspect Noordin Top.
Three men convicted of terrorism over the 2002 Bali bombings are already on death row, although they have yet to be executed and are appealing their sentences.
On the issue of the increasing number of regional and local regulations in line with Islamic law, Mallarangeng said generally they did not explicitly refer to Sharia, but the central government was reviewing statutes to see if they violated national law and the constitution.
He also said individuals and private groups were free to challenge such laws in court themselves

Islamic laws are being slipped in by stealth and the government is slow to respond to these violations of the constitution and Pancasila. Why is that? These rogue mayors and governors need to be reprimanded and incarcerated for their actions.

Bali tourist numbers plunging

THE number of Australians travelling to Indonesia has halved in the year since 23 people died in the second Bali bombings.
New Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show 139,990 Australians visited Indonesia - the vast majority going to Bali for holidays -- in the 12 months to August, down from 273,160 in the same period to August last year.
Analysis of monthly figures indicates there is no recovery in sight, with Australians still jittery about visiting Bali since the blasts at Kuta Beach and Jimbaran Bay killed four of their compatriots.
Tourist numbers bounced back after an initial slump following the 2002 terrorist Bali attacks, when 88 Australians were killed.
Indonesia topped the list of overseas holiday destinations for Australians in August last year but had dropped to fifth place 12months later.
Most of those who travelled to Bali were repeat visitors who had remained loyal to the island.
"The regulars still come but the newcomers and the families don't come any more," said Waywayan Budiarsa, sales director of the Ramada Bintang Hotel in the Balinese town of Tuban.
Australians once accounted for 35 per cent of the hotel's customers. The proportion was now 10per cent, he said.
"After the first bombings it was back to normal six months later, but that has not happened this time," Mr Budiarsa said.
Adelaide-based Venture Holidays managing director Cos Matteo said Indonesian airline Garuda had this month stopped its thrice-weekly flights from South Australia's capital to Bali. Garuda had signalled it would halt flights to Bali from Australia's east coast from next March. "Bali used to be our biggest seller. But now it's eclipsed by places like Thailand and Malaysia," Mr Matteo said.

Not surprising. As long as the Indonesian government does not take security of the country seriously, especially in Bali, how does it expect to increase foreign investment in this country? Tourists are going to safer countries like Malaysia, Vietnam and vacation spots in Thailand to spend their much needed dollars.

Is this half-hearted approach to security by the government because Bali is a non-Muslim island? Quite possibly. The Balinese have been virtually left to take care of their own security needs. This blasé approach by the Muslim government shows a lack of concern for non-Muslim citizens and further proves that Muslims and non-Muslims are treated differently in this supposed secular nation. Tourists from Bali quite often venture on to visit Buddhist temple Borobudur, the Hindu temple site at Prambanan, the orangutan sanctuaries in Kalimantan and Sumatera and other places. If tourism declines in Bali, then the ripple effect of this will be felt in other tourist areas. The government doesn't seem care and provides a minimum effort to militant threat so as to give the impression that something is being done. Just the same, when former dictator Soeharto's son Tommy was on the run, he managed to elude captors for a long time before finally being captured. A high profile person such as Tommy should have been easy to catch but half-hearted efforts and corruption delayed justice. Are these half-hearted efforts again evident in the capture of Noordin M.Top? Recent polls show that 1 in 5 Indonesians support Top's terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. That's 44 million Indonesians that support the actions of terrorism. Is it any wonder, with poor security and the attitude of 44 million Indonesians, that tourists don't want to come here?

Introduce your congregation to the persecuted church

This comes from Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox in a weekly newsletter to Pastors. Original article is here

All pastors want to help their church members understand the persecuted church.
We all want to learn something of the secret of the world’s largest-ever revival in China, or be inspired by the heroic endurance of thousands of Eritrean brothers and sisters, literally cooking to death in metal shipping containers parked in the steaming jungle, all because they refuse to give up their right to read the Bible and pray. If we connect our churches with that kind of fire-filled faith, it may rub off on us.
So how do we do it?
I thought about this a long time and had a five-point plan (nicely alliterated too) to recommend to you to make this happen. But then, two huge flaws reared up to torpedo this strategy.
First, give a pastor another task list, and they’ll start to whimper. Might even push them over the edge. As a British government insider said recently, “Our strategy was to keep announcing targets, initiatives, plans, which always generated headlines and made it seem like we’re always on top of things. [The] problem was, we kept announcing so many new plans we never gave the first plans any time to work, and the result was chaos.” Similarly, churches are suffocating from a surfeit of initiatives. What an insult it would be to reduce the persecuted church to yet another task on an already crowded roster.
Second – and here’s the biggest rub – pastors can only lead their churches into realizations that they embody themselves. Since most pastors don’t understand the persecuted church, the task is doomed to failure.
So what discovery is the pastor going to radiate about persecution that enables them – and their church – to understand the persecuted church?
Here’s my suggestion: Congregations will understand the persecuted church only when their pastor becomes one of the persecuted church!
OK, belay those images of pastors led away in chains from hospitals for threatening abortion doctors or jailed for insulting political figures or pouring out anti-atheistic venom on talk shows. It’s deeper and bigger than that, as a couple of them found out on a visit to China.
There’s a house church in Beijing I take my friends to visit. The members are all young professionals, about 20 of them, and they meet in a huge, darkened, open-plan office at midnight once a week. At the beginning of each meeting, the leader goes around and asks each member this question: What are your wounds for Christ this week?
On one occasion, I had brought three American friends, and the same question – through translation – was put to each of them. They replied, “Oh, we are not wounded or persecuted, you see, we live in America, where we have religious freedom, and we are so grateful for that!”
This reply was greeted with uncomprehending silence by the Chinese house church. Then a young woman spoke up and without a trace of irony asked, “You mean, they don’t let the Devil into America?”
The house church leader patiently explained to the visitors the biblical understanding of persecution: “In the Bible, to be persecuted means to be pursued by the enemies of Christ. When we become a Christian, his enemies become our enemies, and we are pitched into a battle with the world and the Devil, and this fight will draw wounds. So it doesn’t matter whether you are in China or America, the fight is the same, only the degree of suffering may differ. You’re going to get pursued – that’s persecution.”
“But we thought persecution was legal discrimination, or being put into jail for one’s faith” said one of the visitors. The house church leader replied, “That’s the extreme tip of it. Look, we may not sit on the same thorn, but we all sit on the same branch.”
Still the visitors did not look convinced. Another Chinese member said, “If you don’t have wounds for Christ, how do you know you are alive in Christ? Wounds bring joy, because then you know you are making a difference.”
This struck a chord with the visitors, two of whom were pastors. As preachers, they knew that nothing communicates like joy. That’s why persecuted churches are growing churches – they are alive in Christ, and they know it because they have wounds!
But how do you take that back to Madison, Wis., or Fort Lauderdale, Fla.? It sounds good. It’s good theology. But how does it work? How does a pastor become one of the persecuted – in a society that is often indifferent to the exercise of religion?
The two pastors explained their confusion to the house church. One woman said to them, “Was Paul persecuted because he was a Christian? No, he was persecuted because he was a witnessing Christian. He went to the synagogues and preached there, and then he got into trouble. So find the source of resistance to the Gospel in your local area and when you apply the Gospel, watch the fight begin.” The house church pastor put it this way, “Confront the defining evil in your area or your society – that will bring persecution. For us, the evil is obvious; for you, it may be more subtle.”
One pastor went back to his church in an inner city area. He became convicted that the youth gangs were the defining evil in the area, especially as they were going on killing sprees and starting to become drug pushers. He began prayer meetings and outreaches to the gangs. He even became a chaplain to a particularly violent gang. After a while, he saw fruit, but he also got a visit from a local gun runner, “Leave the kids alone, or else – you’re bad for business,” he said. One night, six months later, a bullet came through the window as the church baptized five converted gang leaders. The reaction of the pastor could have come from the mouth of the Chinese house church leader. He said, “It was a beautiful bullet, because now we knew we were making a difference.”
That pastor had joined the persecuted church and led his congregation into a greater awareness of the worldwide persecuted church. They wanted to know about their brothers and sisters in Eritrea, China, North Korea, and Iran not just because the Christians there needed their prayers and their money, but because they were one in the same battle. Christians in the West need the insights and prayers of suffering Christians around the world to fight their own battles better.
The other pastor returned to his church in a very upscale, business district. After praying with his elders, they came up with the defining evil of the area, which they called “The Lie – Get rich; be free.” This was the besetting idol, they felt, and began to model an alternative lifestyle in the community that reversed consumerist expectations. The pastor confesses, “I’ve had more persecution from the congregation than from the community to be honest, so it’s a long-term thing, but I have to say this – I feel so much better, because I’m not such a hypocrite in the pulpit anymore.”
Pastors, here’s your challenge: If you want your congregations to understand the persecuted church, then become a persecuted pastor.
Embody your message. Fight the battle against besetting evils in a concrete, not an abstract way. Let the wounds show. And watch your congregation catch the fire, and understand the persecuted church in the best way possible – by joining it!
Brother Andrew always says, “Persecution is an honor you have to deserve.” If we do, we will live in the joy of the eighth beatitude:
“You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you deeper into God’s Kingdom.” (Matt. 5:10 MSG)
Deeper into God’s Kingdom? Isn’t that why we are pastors? To take the people deeper into God’s Kingdom? Let the persecuted help with that! Take up their challenge, and join them

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hasanuddin group suspected of killing Clergyman

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: Indonesia’s National Police (Polri) is still convinced that the Hasanuddin group was the perpetrator of the shooting to death of clergyman Irianto Kongkoli shooting on Monday (16/10). This group, which disagrees with peace in Poso, previously shot clergyman Susianti Tinulele on July 18, 2004. Chief Comm. Bambang Kuncoko, Polri spokesperson, said the police are not excluding the possibility that there is another group imitating the Hasanuddin group’ methods. “However, imitators have weaknesses,” he said. According to the police department, the methods used in the murder this time are very similar to the Hasanuddin group’s methods. The Central Sulawesi Regional Police are of the same opinion. “The mode of operation was the same as with the shooting of clergyman Susianti Tinulele. The action was rapid, a shot was fired then the perpetrators disappeared,” said Brig. Gen. Badrodin Haiti, Chief of the Central Sulawesi Regional Police. However, he was not yet prepared to conclude that the Hasanuddin group was behind this recent shooting. Hasanuddin and three of his accomplices has been under detention since April, 2005, at the Polri Headquarters. He is suspected of being involved in riots in Poso, including the mutilation of three Poso High School female students, bombing at Tentena Market and the murder of a clergyman. According to the police, the Hasanuddin group is a small group that is not satisfied with the Malino Agreement that was initiated by Jusuf Kalla, who was the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare at that time. The police have stated that Hasanuddin came from the Poso Mujahidin Assembly group. Clergyman Irianto was known as a priest who supported peace. He was also close to well-known Islam leaders and often held cross-religion events. Irianto was shot dead by four unknown people wearing masks, Monday (16/10), when he was with his wife and child at a hardware store in Palu.

Death sentence demanded for militant

SEMARANG (AP): Prosecutors in Central Java province on Wednesday demanded a suspected militant be sentenced to death for allegedly recruiting terrorists and helping plan last year's bombings onthe resort island of Bali.
Subur Sugiarto is alleged to be a key aide of Noordin Top, a leader of Jamaah Islamiyah (JI), an Islamic militant group accused of five bloody suicide bombings targeting Western interests since 2002, including the 2005 attacks on Bali that killed 20.
Prosecutor Sri Soewarno said Sugiarto was guilty of violating anti-terror laws by joining Noordin in planning the Bali blasts and helping him recruit militants.
Soewarno also said Sugiarto's actions had spoiled the image of Islam.
Under Indonesian law, judges are free to ignore prosecutors' demands when sentencing.
Defense lawyers will respond to the sentence recommendations at the next hearing, scheduled for Nov. 8.
Indonesia has arrested and convicted scores of alleged members of JI in recent years.

Intelligence investigations hope to find killer

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Former Wirabuana Military Commander Suaidi Marassabesy has expressed hope that the government, especially its security agencies, will intensify intelligence operations as well as security-maintenance efforts to uncover the mystery behind the recent spate of acts of violence and terror in the conflict-prone Central Sulawesi towns of Palu and Poso. "The local administration also needs to hold more frequent meetings with related community figures to find the best possible solution to the continuing horizontal conflict in Poso," he said. The Poso conflict began on December 1, 1998 when Suaidi Marassabesy was serving as Wirabuana VII Military Commander. He immediately came to Poso for dialogs with local community figures, especially with leaders of the Muslim community, after the first clashes happened. "I went from mosque to mosque to meet with the public and religious figures in a bid to remedy the situation. After the root of the problem and its solution were found, the conflict was brought under control in only three days, although it flared up again a few months later," Marassabesy said. According to him, the conflict in Poso was not as big as that in Maluku but its solution was more difficult because it was related to several factors.

He said the first factor that had contributed to the Poso conflict was the region`s width and strategic geographic location as a transit point for members of radical movements.

The second was the fact that the Poso district administration`s center was physically far removed from the provincial administration in Palu.

The third factor, according to the former Wirabuana Military commander, was the role of third parties in infiltrating the region and indoctrinating locals.

I see, you must be talking about terrorist group Laskar Jihad, invited and welcomed by local Muslims and government officials. How is being welcomed with open arms, infiltrating? They were given a free reign by the military and police. Any lower ranking military that tried to crack down on LJ was disciplined and over ruled by the government and generals in the military. And what about the local politicians, businessmen and military? You failed to mention them.

"In light of all this, the government should hold dialogs as often as possible with Poso`s local community by inviting outside figures as mediators to solve the problem thoroughly," Marassabesi said. He made the remarks to comment on Monday`s shooting of a Christian minister, Reverend Irianto Kongkoli, in religiously-divided Central Sulawesi province. The minister, who was also general secretary of the Central Sulawesi Communion of Churches, was gunned down as he and his wife were at a building materials shop in south Palu.

Terrorism behind murder of Pastor in Poso

National police said the murderers of Reverend Kongkoli could be linked to a terrorist group already suspected of beheading Christian girls in 2005. This group is connected to Jemaah Islamiyah.

Palu (AsiaNews.it) – Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered security forces to thoroughly investigate the killing of a Protestant pastor in Palu, Central Sulawesi, on 16 October. Meanwhile, after initial investigations, police believe the perpetrators of the crime could be members of a terrorist group already suspected of beheading young Christian girls last year. The group is linked the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) network that in turn is held to be close to Al-Qaeda.
A presidential spokesman said Susilo had asked the competent authorities to “to seriously tackle the case of Rev. Irianto Kongkoli, and to uncover the perpetrators so that they can be brought to justice and punished.”
The 40-year-old reverend, chairman of the Central Sulawesi Churches of Synod (GKST), was killed by a bullet in the nape of his neck on Monday as he stood at the entrance of a shop in Palu. Tension has gripped the city since the execution of three Catholics on 22 September for their alleged role in bloody sectarian clashes that took place in 2000 in Poso, in the same province.
Yesterday, the national police chief General Sutanto said interrogation of witnesses and investigations into the crime were still under way. Police spokesman, Bambang Kuncoko, said that based on how the murder was carried out, "we suspect the killers are from the same group that has carried out recent bombings and mutilations" in the area. He was referring to the beheading of Christian girls and a series of low-level bombings last year. According to what journalists were told later in the day, the police believe the group of Hasanuddin could be involved. Hasanuddin is currently detained in Jakarta for the beheading of the young Christian students. He is known to be a member of JI, a terror network operative in South-east Asia.

For more on Hasanuddin's gang "Link between Poso and JI unclear"

The police of Central Sulawesi speculated that the motive for the murder could be to ignite religious sentiments in the province in order to create tension between Muslim and Christian communities. From 1999 to 2001, interfaith violence claimed more than 2,000 lives in Poso and Palu.
Meanwhile, several local churches flew their flags at half-mast in a show of mourning. Rev. Kongkoli will be buried this afternoon or at the latest, tomorrow, 19 October, in a Christian cemetery in the Talise subdistrict, Palu.

President orders investigation

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered security forces to thoroughly investigate the shooting Monday of a Christian pastor in conflict-prone Palu, Central Sulawesi.
Presidential spokesman Andi Alfian Mallarangeng said Tuesday that Yudhoyono had ordered Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo Adi Sucipto to quickly find those who killed Rev. Irianto Kongkoli, secretary-general of the South Sulawesi Christian Church.
"The president has instructed (the minister) ... to seriously tackle this case and uncover the perpetrators so that they can be brought to justice and punished," Mallarangeng said in comments broadcast on ElShinta radio, AFP reported.
The 40-year-old pastor was shot dead by masked gunmen while shopping with his wife.
The president also asked residents in Central Sulawesi to remain calm and keep the peace, Andi said.
Tensions in the province, where Muslims and Christians live in roughly equal numbers, were already running high following the Sept. 22 executions of three Christians who were convicted of inciting violence against Muslims in 2000.
Separately, the chief of the National Police, Gen. Sutanto, said Tuesday in Semarang that the police were still investigating the shooting and have questioned witnesses.
"It's just that we don't yet know the motive behind the pastor's shooting. We're still analyzing and collecting data," he explained.
"(The suspects) are still at large, so we can't be sure whether they're from out of town or within it," Sutanto said.
National Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Bambang Kuncoko said in Jakarta the police had "questioned six witnesses, including the victim's wife and driver".
He said based on how the murder was carried out, "we suspect the pair are from the same group that has carried out recent bombings and mutilations". He was referring to a series of low-level bombings in the past year and the beheadings of three Christian girls in 2005.
A source, however, told Sinar Harapan daily Tuesday that authorities were connecting the murder to the Basri group, which has also been linked to the beheadings of the three girls.
"Preliminary suspicion is that the group has intentionally tried to divert attention from Poso to Palu with the shooting of pastor Irianto Kongkoli," the source said.
The murder was widely condemned, with chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights, Abdul Hakim Garuda Nusantara, demanding the government boost efforts to deal with the roots of the problems which have triggered violence in Sulawesi over the last few years.
The youth wing of the Muslim organization Muhammadiyah urged the government to punish the shooters.
"We demand the National Police chief immediately arrest the shooters and give them the heaviest penalty, death if necessary, to let people know the country's laws do not make exceptions," said the group's president Muhammad Ihsan.
In Palu, residents gave a cold greeting to an entourage of local and Jakarta officials who came to visit the victim's home.
Meanwhile, several churches and Christians flew their flags at half-staff for three days as a show of concern.
The pastor will be buried midday Wednesday at a Christian cemetery in the Talise subdistrict of East Palu.

Police find motive of Clergyman's murder

National Police Chief General Sutanto said here on Tuesday that the police had found the motive behind the murder on Monday of a Christian priest in Palu, Central Sulawesi. "We will disclose it after the perpetrators have been captured," he said after inaugurating 294 Police Academy graduates. Sutanto said that the police were still hunting down the murderers. "We will inform the media if there are new developments," he said. He said the police had already questioned witnesses but declined to disclose their number. He also declined when asked if the perpetrators locals or coming from another region. "Just wait and see. We cannot make guesses. We will tell you if we have found the perpetrators," he said. Sutanto said he would not send reinforcements to the region to maintain security there. Reverend Irianto Kongkoli was shot to death by a masked gunman while he was at a building materials store at around 8.30 am on Monday. The general secretary of the Central Sulawesi Christian Church Synod Council was with his wife and child when the attack occurred. His wife and child were unharmed, but gunman fled with a friend who was waiting on a motorbike.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Church,rights groups press Jakarta on Pastor's murder

JAKARTA, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Local church and rights groups demanded on Tuesday that the Indonesian government catch the killers of a murdered Christian pastor and uncover the roots of the cycle of violence gripping Central Sulawesi province.
Reverend Irianto Kongkoli was shot in the head when he was buying ceramic tiles on Monday at a shop in the province's capital of Palu, 1,650 km (1,030 miles) northeast of Jakarta.
The incident was not the first close-range assassination of Christian clergy in Central Sulawesi, still suffering from sporadic violence after Muslims and Christians agreed to end the 1998-2001 sectarian war in the province's Poso region.
"The lives of people in Central Sulawesi are shrouded with fear. The government's approach is too standard. Every time there is unrest, troops are sent. More should be done," said Reverend Andreas Yewangoe, head of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, the country's umbrella group for Protestants.
"The church institution urges the setting of an independent team to probe the recurring violence," he said, adding that religious groups were being pushed to revive the conflict.
Police have said two men wearing masks were involved in Monday's shooting. Police are interrogating witnesses including Kongkoli's wife, herself a policewoman, who was waiting for her husband in a car outside the shop.
Police have failed to unearth perpetrators of previous assassination cases, and Indonesia's leading human rights group Kontras said government efforts have failed to show political will to get to the bottom of the problem in Central Sulawesi.
"The government is not serious in resolving the problems in conflict areas and it tends to ignore its own responsibility," Kontras operational head Indria Fernida told a news conference.
The group accuses figures in the security forces of being behind the tension.


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters he has ordered security forces to take necessary measures.
"Our system is working. But we need contributions from all parties. We need to really end the conflict among us," he said.
The province has become more tense since the executions last month of three Christian militants over the slaying of Muslims in a boarding school in 2000, the peak of the sectarian clashes.
Small bombs have sporadically exploded in Poso since the executions although most of them have caused no damage or injuries and two Muslims had been killed during a protest against the executions.
The Catholic trio were executed on Sept. 22 by a firing squad despite appeals from Pope Benedict and rights groups.
About 800 extra police and troops have been sent to Poso town due to the latest inter-religious tensions.
Three years of sectarian clashes in Central Sulawesi killed more than 2,000 people before a peace accord took effect in late 2001. There has been sporadic violence ever since.
Around 85 percent of Indonesia's 220 million people follow Islam, but Central Sulawesi have roughly equal numbers of Muslims and Christians.
Three Islamic militants are on death row for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. Kontras accuse the government of using the two execution cases as "a balancing tool in the politics of Muslim-Christian segregation.