By Elizabeth Kendal
As Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin has reported, the Indonesian government has deployed troops to Central Sulawesi in response to a string of terrorist attacks that in have included bombings and assassinations of police officers. On 22 October, belligerents set fire to a church in Madale village on the outskirts of Poso, in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to trigger sectarian conflict. In reporting the incident the Jakarta Post noted: "A re-emergence of the conflict would also serve to fire up Muslim extremists across the country to wage war against Christians."
See: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 183
October Update, 31 October 2012
As the following articles indicate -- the terrorism continues.
Police Disarm Bomb Found in Poso Resident's Backyard
Jakarta Globe, SP/John Lory | November 09, 2012
A bomb squad from Central Sulawesi Police disarmed a homemade bomb found in the backyard of a Poso resident's house on Thursday.
The homeowner, Yulianti, 63, who lives in the Landangan village, said she discovered the bomb in her backyard at 6:30 a.m.
[. . .]
Yulianti said the house was mostly empty the previous evening as the family had been at church.
Police have cordoned off the area where the bomb was found and have combed the area for clues. Personnel on site said the home-assembled bomb contained chemicals urea and nitrate, a detonator and a cable network.
Poso Police Chief Survives Assassination Attempt
Jakarta Globe | November 15, 2012
The incident occurred on Thursday [15 Nov] at 12:15 p.m. local time. Adj. Comr. Nicklas Karauwan, the chief of police of Poso Pesisir Utara, a subdistrict located in Central Sulawesi, reportedly left his house to take the key out of a motorcycle parked in his yard. Not long after he stepped outside gunshots were heard, and the police chief ran back into his house while ducking down.
“A [police officer] fired back, but the perpetrator had already run away,” Eko said.
The following article, published in the Jakarta Post on 13 November, is one to download and read in full.
Moderate Islam losing ground to extremists in Poso
By Bagus BT Saragih and Ruslan Sangadji,
The Jakarta Post | Expose | Tue, 13 November 2012.
The government’s failure to thoroughly root out radicalism, coupled with alleged police brutality in counterterrorism raids, have reunited the Islamic fighters and boosted the spirit needed to radicalize traumatized residents.
[. . .]
Besides their expanding base, militants have also aggressively tried to take over mosques run by moderate Muslim groups.
Former Islamic combatant Sutami Idris, who is now a respected moderate Muslim cleric, said many mosques were struggling to prevent the infiltration.
Many moderate mosques in Poso have gradually come under the control of radical groups, Sutami said last week.
“Their movement looks to be very organized. First, they deploy their followers as ordinary congregation members to regularly attend prayers at particular mosques to gain trust.”
“Once the trust begins to develop, these people are given responsibilities, such as announcing adzan [Muslim call to prayer] and are allowed to be part of the mosques’ organizations. When this stage is reached, they begin to spread their radical ideology,” he said.
According to Sutami, radical teachings can be easily identified by the way jihad is allowed to be carried out.
“Robbing a jewelry store owned by ‘infidels’, for example, can be considered halal for these kinds of group,” Sutami said.
Sutami acknowledged that many Islamic clerics from outside Poso, particularly from Java, such as Surakarta and Semarang, had played significant roles in the radicalization movement.
[. . .]
The authorities in Poso are also worried over the inflow of former combatants of the Philippines’ Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The Philippine government signed a peace pact with MILF last month to end decades of bloody separatism conflict. However, the combatants, who oppose the peace pact, may have traveled to Poso to help their Muslim brothers in the fight.
[. . .]
. . . the authorities have again been alerted to the inflow of extremists from Java.
According to Adnan Arsal, the leader of the Tanah Runtuh neighborhood, many clerics and militants from Java had opted to shift their jihad operations to Poso.
Militants and terrorist fugitives apparently want to create tension between Christians and Muslims in Poso in the hope of reviving the sectarian conflict. . .