Catholic World News

Religious violence flares in Indonesia

February 07, 2011

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic country, has seen a jump in the number of attacks on religious minorities—ironically, just as the country began its observances of Inter-Faith Harmony Week—the Fides news service reports.

Three members of a small breakaway Muslim sect were killed on February 4. Suspicion immediately fell on other militant Muslims who regard the sect as heretical. “It is a sad episode,” said Bishop Johannes Maria Pujasumarta, the secretary of the nation’s episcopal conference.

A local research organization reported over 216 cases of “flagrant violations of religious freedom” in Indonesia during the year 2010. Roughly one-third of those incidents involved Christians as the targets of violence. Members of the breakaway Muslim sect were the victims in about one-fourth of the incidents. The report called for greater government efforts to protect minority groups.

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