Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
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Troubling bill being discussed in Indonesia. My wife and the online group of people from North Sulawesi are very concerned by this.
A controversial national education-system bill, which the House of Representatives (DPR) plans to endorse on May 20, has once again put Muslims and Christians on a collision course, raising fears of renewed bloody religious conflicts that could lead to territorial disunity.
The bill requires both state and private schools to teach religion to their students. It also states that religious lessons have to be taught by teachers of the same religion as the students. If enacted, the bill basically will oblige Christian schools to hire Muslim religious teachers if they accept Muslim students or Muslim schools to provide Christian religious teachers if they have Christian students in their classes.
This is particularly upsetting for Minahasans because the region is a Christian stronghold in the 85-90% Muslim country. In North Sulawesi this percentage is reversed and this would mean that any school that had any Muslim students would be forced to teach Islam (in Arabic which the Christian students do not know) to the Christian students.
Arg. Even the Asia Times is infected with PC Moral Relativity.
Indonesians in general are still nursing the wounds inflicted by prolonged religious conflicts that broke out almost immediately after the downfall of the dictator Suharto in 1998. In Maluku province, where more than 10,000 people have been killed after bloody conflicts between Christians and Muslims broke out in January 1999, security authorities are striving to restore order. Peace remains shaky, with conflicts and bombings still taking place in the archipelagic province. The government, however, is now facing new problems in the province, including a secessionist movement called the South Maluku Republic (RMS) that has intensified its campaign for independence.
The situation is pretty much the same in Poso, Central Sulawesi, another site of religious conflicts. More than 2,000 innocent people have been killed in Poso since bloody conflicts between Christians and Muslims started in late 2000. Peace and order had slowly returned to the area, but not until security authorities deployed thousands of troops there.
It is not mosque and Muslim villages that are being burned and bombed. Christians are not murdering people in the streets and forcing conversions of children. Christian terrorist groups have not set up clandestine camps with ties to international terrorist groups. The Christians who are taking up arms to defend their homes and places of worship do not have as their goal a fundamentalist religious state. The article makes it sound like the conflict just up and appeared out of nowhere. This just isn't true.
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