Christian Fear & Frustration

Oct 21st, 2006, in News, by

An LA Times article discusses the “the fear and frustration of being Christian in Indonesia”.

In Christians Don’t Expect Eye for an Eye in Indonesia (registration required), a cherry-picking piece by John M. Glionna, a Christian in Bali is described as bemoaning the execution of Fabianus Tibo, et al, last month and “talks in measured words about the fear and frustration of being Christian in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.” Maringan Simanjuntak is said to be now anxiously awaiting another execution, that of the 2002 Bali bombers, Amrozi, Imam Samudra, Ali Gufron.

But Simanjuntak, a 46-year-old tour guide, doesn’t expect to see the Bali bombers put to death – the country’s Muslim-led government takes care of its own, he thinks.

This country is a Muslim majority, and Christians are not offered the same protection under the law.

The article then goes on to say that many Christians believe the execution of Tibo and friends was unjust, they were offered up as scapegoats, and, as Robert Tibo says,:

I miss my father. But what can we do? We cannot fight the government. But it seemed officials were trying to pave the way for the Bali bombers’ execution. They wanted to make it even between my father and the other Christians and the Muslims.

Moving to Sulawesi Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group is quoted:

For many Christians, there is a question of balance. …there is this strong sense among non-Muslim minorities that they may not have a place in Indonesia.

Muslims convicted in Sulawesi were given at most 15-year prison sentences, she says.

Bali is not immune from these events, it is said. Tourism is still badly affected by past terrorist attacks there. Nyoman Puana, camera shop employee, says the bombers robbed Balinese people of their livelihoods.

The bombs crushed tourism all the way to the bottom. People want to see justice take its course.

In the past, the writer says, Suharto suppressed Indonesia’s simmering religious and ethnic rivalries but after his fall in 1998, distrust boiled over in Sulawesi, where Muslims and Christians live in roughly even numbers.

What follows in the article is then a rather confused conflating of events, of things separated by many years. We are told that the violence began in Poso, originally, when a rumour among Christians spread that Muslims had tried to ban alcohol. Violence spread, and included the beheadings of three Christian schoolgirls, something which actually happened four years after the Malino peace accord, and six years after the original outbreak of fighting.

Some people were later brought to trial. “The Christians”, known as the Poso Three, were found guilty of several attacks, including a machete and gun assault on an Islamic school that left at least 70 dead.

After their execution there were many protests, and many people were unhappy with how the executions were done, and how the corpses were treated by the authorities.

There was no violence in Bali but, the writer claims, “emotions still run high” there.

Hubert Hady Setiawan, said to be a priest, is quoted as sympathising with the post Tibo execution violence and protests:

If you were there, you would understand. Perhaps people did not act reasonably, but they saw an injustice. We on the outside have to accept the violence “” eye for eye, tooth for tooth.

Suliaman, a Muslim (in Bali it seems), is quoted as saying that the violence was provoked by paid provocateurs. Then he says:

Not all Muslims are good. I travel throughout Indonesia, and most of the mosques I visit are empty. People need to return to the teachings of Islam and reject violence.

The article ends by returning to Maringan Simanjuntak who is said to be still waiting for the Bali bombers to die.

They stole the last breaths of 202 people. They deserve to be punished. They deserve to die.

8 Comments on “Christian Fear & Frustration”

  1. Bradlymail says:

    let’s see if the government is really fair to handle this case? Definitely I wait for the Bali bombers to die.

  2. Peace says:

    I read one tabloid Sabda recently, that Brigjen Oegroseno the ex-Central Sulawesi police chief believes Tibo, Dominggus and Martinus were innocent.

    He said he dared to say that because he still has conscience, he knows the difference between right and wrong.
    He also said, if God didn’t want Tibo, Dominggus and Martinus died, then a miracle would happen upon them. But if God had to take their lives, maybe it’s for a better reason, they are now living the peaceful life.

    Too bad, I can’t find that tabloid online.
    But this following link shows how Brigjen Oegroseno opposed the execution of Tibo cs.

    Btw I disagree if Christian in Indonesia become frightened or frustated, maybe some small number. Christian people are strong.

    Sad is more appropriate.

  3. Bradlymail says:

    peace tell him it’s too late……!

  4. Peace says:

    He did try it, but he had no power to fight those conspirators without back up from gov (and I think we can figure out why).
    But at least he said what he must said, that Tibo, Dominggus and Marinus were innocent.
    So now the world will/hear the true fact.

  5. O. Bule says:

    When one reads of churches being attacked and shut down in a cosmopolitan center such as Bandung, it is not hard to imagine that Christians in Indonesia feel threatened, and justifiably so.

    O. Bule

  6. Bradlymail says:

    Sometimes I think it’s very difficult to change their mindset! Why this thing could be happen in Indonesia? I believe, there are something wrong with the religion teaching in pesantrens, they think they are great people, actually they are stupid or ‘kolot’. Most of the religious teachers are teaching their students in ‘orthodox ways’ with full of promises from heaven….that’s something unbelievable!

  7. Edward Farel says:

    Tibo, Dominggus and Martinus is deserve to DIE!.
    They burned and killed my MUSLIM friends in here (POSO).
    If you guys dont know the truth and dont know what realy happening here, PLEASE shut the f*ck up!!!. You sounds like a cat inside the bag.

  8. Boeboe says:

    This is for Edward Farel;

    You don’t need to gloat on other’s misery. We. Christians in Indonesia realised from looooooong time a go, that being Christian there is not easy. Being “different”from the rest of your classmates, being called “the only moron who haven’t forfeit to the communal demand to convert to Islam”in your work place, and the quotes goes on and on. As if we have a taste of being first Christian in Rome hundreds of years back.
    So, please be civil, and try to tolerate and understand why We, Christian in Indonesia, fear for our beliefs, and even life.
    And for you to say that someone is deserve to die, with such anger and hatred, just show to the World, what “kind” of people your kind are.
    No one should judge others, like we, Christian knows WHO says, if any of you have less sin than this woman, let he throw the first stone on her.
    So, you are sure, that you have less sin than Them, then?

    I rest my case.

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