Skip to comments.INDONESIA: MUSLIM CIVILIANS TO PROTECT CHURCHES AT CHRISTMAS
Posted on 12/10/2005 9:22:08 PM PST by Valin
Jakarta, 9 Dec. (AKI/Jakarta Post) - Civilian guards from Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) are to help secure churches in the country during Christmas and New Year's celebrations. The move is a goodwill gesture towards the country's Christian minority, after recent threats of terror attacks by the al-Qaeda linked Jemaah Islamiya (JI) militant group against a range of targets in Indonesia and other Asian nations.
The NU guards, called Banser - from the organisation's youth wing - have agreed to back the police in ensuring the peaceful celebration of Christmas and New Year. Baser has also contact groups from other religions like the Hindhus and Buddhists and they have responded positively, the group's national coordinator Tatang Hidayat said. The volunteers will collaborate closely with Indonesian police, he said.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on security cooperation was recently signed by the Indonesian Bishops Council (KWI) and Banser, KWI spokesman Alex S. Wijoyo said on Thursday.
"The MOU is about cooperation, including in security during Christmas and New Year," he said after a meeting between the 2005 Christmas celebration committee and Indonesia's president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Under the agreement, the guards will assist in securing churches during Christmas. However, on New Year's Eve, they will stand guard at entertainment venues and shopping centers.
National Police chief of operations Comr. Gen. Insmerda Lebang, who attended a meeting with Yudhoyono on Thursday, said his force would deploy two thirds of its some 250,000 personnel to safeguard end-of-year events.
"It will be just like security for Idul Fitri," he added.
Some 17,000 police will guard churches, malls and amusement centers, particularly in big cities, Lebang said. They have required the installation of closed-circuit television monitors at big churches in major cities across Indonesia, where terror attacks may be planned.
Wijoyo said the KWI was confident security authorities would do their best to protect churches as many Christians would go to church at Christmas time despite the warnings.
State Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief Syamsir Siregar has warned of possible plans by terrorists to launch more attacks in some cities, including Jakarta, by the end of this month.
Attacks are being planned regardless of last month's killing of JI's alleged master bombmaker Azahari bin Husin, as his key accomplice Noordin M. Top is still at large, he added. A series of deadly terror attacks have been staged in the country in the past few years, most recenty on the tourist island of Bali in October, when suicide bombers killed 20 people.
Simultaneous church bombings at Christmas time in 2000 claimed 19 lives. Although the capital has been realtively calm in recent weeks, many security analysts say threats of militant attacks remain high. In late November, Catholic and Protestant Churches in East Java received anonymous letters threatening imminent attacks.
Earlier this year, a paper 'General Guidelines of the Jemaah Islamiya's Struggle' uncovered by police after an anti-terror raid in Surakarta, East Java, pinpoints Indonesia as the first target for attacks in the region. The document outlined the Philippines as an 'exercise' zone.
Up to 90 percent of Indonesia's 220 miollion population is Muslim. Christians form the second largest religious group in the country as a whole, as well as in Jakarta.
Interesting. Nice to hear too that some Muslims are rejecting the call of violence by some of their peers.
Happens all the time.
Good. Good. As a proponant of "Why don't the so-called peaceful Muslims stand up to this hate?" I am glad to see some who are.
Anyone who thinks we can kill all of the Muslims in the world is crazy. And remember, the Iraqi soldiers we are training and who are fighting with our soldiers are Muslim. We will have to co-exist with them.
Or die trying.
Boy, for a religion of peace, it sure seems like we need a lot of protection from it.
And while the offer of protection is appreciated, frankly, I'd rather that folks be allowed to provide their own defense. "Protection" can be taken away as freely as it is given.
Finally, some Muslims want good PR for a change
Anyone who thinks we can kill all of the Muslims in the world is crazy. And remember, the Iraqi soldiers we are training and who are fighting with our soldiers are Muslim.
Now stop making sense! Don't you know that all Muslims live to kill us?
"Kill"?? Maybe just a forced conversion beforehand, but hey -- take your beef up with the Koran.
Agreed. A nice gesture by sane Muslims.
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