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Christian Aid Responds to Horror in the Moluccas

Tuesday, March 13, 2001 | Tag Cloud

by John Lindner

(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.)-Responding to urgent pleas for help, Christian Aid has joined a campaign to raise $1.2 million to rescue Christians feared targeted for conversion or extermination by Muslim jihad warriors in Indonesia.

The appeal was first sounded by Steve Snyder of International Christian Concern in Washington, D.C. based on direct contacts he had with pastors in Indonesia. Other agencies that have already joined the effort are CBN in Virginia Beach and Lifewater International in San Luis Obispo in California, as well as churches in Australia and Alaska.

"This is the first time Christian Aid has taken on a project initiated by another agency," Rick Brown, President of Christian Aid, said. "The amount to be raised quickly is too much for one organization-and the need is urgent."

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PLAN

Here is the plan:

There are 7061 individuals belonging to 1425 families in eight mostly Protestant villages feared targeted by the Laskar Jihad, "Banner of the Holy War."

It will take approximately 22 boat trips to evacuate the people and transport them safely to an area outside a city of 200,000 in a predominantly Christian region. Each boat trip will cost $2,250. Every gift of $34.74 will pay evacuation costs for one Christian family.

Each family will be settled on a small plot of land and provided a tent or a simple one-room house with dirt floor, a bed and a propane cook stove. A house can be constructed and an acre of land purchased for $500 each.

Then they will also have to be supplied food for the next six months, at a cost of $90 per family per month. After six months their mini-farms should supply their continuing basic needs.

HOW THE VIOLENCE STARTED

The violence in Indonesia started two years ago and intensified last year when the Laskar Jihad declared a "holy war" on Christians in the Moluccas, once known as the Spice Islands. In April last year 3000 Laskar Jihad warriors entered the Moluccas with the intent of destroying or converting every Christian there. The Indonesian government has been unable to stop the tide of bloodletting. Nationwide some 8,000 people, both Muslims and
Christians, have been killed, and 500,000 displaced.

Whole villages are being forcefully converted to Islam. Villagers who resist are killed. Those who are not killed and submit endure forced circumcision or genital mutilation.

Soldiers sent to quell the violence often side with the Laskar Jihad. When one woman, Sutarsi, saw the military attacking along with the jihad warriors, she cried out, "O Lord, help us."

"I'll show you how God helps you," one soldier said. He placed a pistol in her mouth and pulled the trigger. The blast blew off half her face, but miraculously, she survived. (Bone from her forearm was taken to replace her cheekbone. She still awaits plastic surgery to complete her recovery.)

Pastor Patiasina was caught by the Islamic militants along with 1718 other Christians on Lata-lata Island.

"We will kill all of you if the pastors do not identify yourselves," the warriors said.

Bravely, pastor Patiasina and three of his elders stepped forward. They were promptly beheaded and the rest of the villagers-male and female-were led away to be circumcised.

WOMEN AND CHILDREN ATTACKED WITH IMPUNITY

The circumcisions typically are performed using the same razor blade or kitchen knife for all, without sanitation or sedation. In some instances the Muslim cleric urinated on the men, claiming that would sterilize their cuts. Women were told to go squat in the ocean to cleanse their wounds.

One man said he watched from afar as attackers slit the throat of his niece, cut her unborn child from her womb and chopped it in pieces. Pastor Paulus said attackers caught and murdered his 20-year-old daughter and chopped his two grandchildren, aged three years and six months, to pieces.

In one place, jihad warriors questioned a 14-year-old boy. After he answered the first question they cut off his left arm. After he answered the second question, they cut off his right arm. Then they slashed his body open and threw him to the ground.

Many victims are beheaded, to hinder body identification. The ugly stories are endless.

MORE DEATHS PER CAPITA THAN BOSNIA

The South China Morning Post quoted Dr. Thamrin Tomagola, a sociologist at the University of Indonesia, as saying the conflict is "the most terrible civil war in the world." He says that more people have been killed per population count than in Bosnia.

Some villages have endured this reign of terror for 12 months. The government of Indonesia sent troops to the area to maintain order, but some sided with the jihad. The jihad has been so successful in ridding the area of Christians or converting them to Islam, that there is none left to offer resistance. With "peace" being restored, military "peacekeepers" sent to the area are scheduled to be withdrawn. That could open the door for a further wave of terror on the remaining villages, which is why help must be sent immediately.

A plea from an Indonesian pastor dated January 21 triggered the emergency evacuation program:

Greetings of Peace in the Love of the Lord Jesus Christ:

With respect, with this letter we convey to the chairman that we here are full of suffering. So we are looking to you with this request for help. If you still know us as sheep, please help us so that we can escape from this danger. And if you can help, please don't be late, no later than the month of February, as beyond that date we will probably be dead because the military will leave our village. So we hope that you will come quickly. That is our plea.

--Name Withheld

The Lord Jesus said, "But when they persecute you in this city, flee to another..." Matthew 10:23. So evacuation and relocation seems to be the only practical solution. Names of villages and individuals remain anonymous for security reasons.

WHAT YOUR HELP WILL DO

Every gift of $34.74 will evacuate one family from an at-risk village.

$2,250 will pay for one boatload of evacuees; 22 boat trips are needed.

$500 will build a simple house for a family or purchase an acre of land.

$90 will feed a family of five for a month; after six months they are expected to be self-sustaining.

Gifts can be sent to Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville,
VA 22906 or by credit card by calling 1-800-977-5650 or online at
www.christianaid.org.

FAST FACTS:

The plan:
Area targeted North Maluku
Identified "at risk" villages 8
Number of families 1425
Number of individuals 7061

Indonesia
Population 225 million
Area 13,700 islands
Stretches 3200 miles East to West
Religion About 65% Muslim
12% Christian
3% Hindu
20% Other
Evangelical believers 6.5%

Molucca Islands
Population 2 million
Religion About half Muslim, half Christian
Displaced homeless 500,000
Killed 8,000 of both faiths

Photos are available on request.

John Lindner, News Editor
Christian Aid Mission
P.O. Box 9037
Charlottesville, VA 22906
Tel. 804-977-5650
Fax 804-295-6814
website http://www.christianaid.org
e-mail jml@christianaid.org

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