Attacks on Christians expected to increase in Indonesia as elections draw closer

( [email protected] ) Mar 17, 2004 02:44 PM EST

Indonesia - It is a tense time for Indonesia’s Christian minority, as the largest Muslim nation in the world is getting ready for parliamentary and first-ever direct elections for president and vice president.

Many Christians fear Muslim hardliners might win. If this happens it would be disastrous for Christians and other non-Muslims. Christian Freedom International reported that most analysts believe the current, more secular president of Indonesia, Megawati Sukarnoputri will win the presidency in upcoming direct election, but that it will be close. Since Sukarnoputri came to power three years ago, Muslim militants have inflicted a string of attacks targeting Christians, churches, Bible schools, and foreigners in a campaign aimed at destabilizing her secular government and replacing it with an Islamic state. This anti-Christian, anti-foreign campaign by Muslim militants is expected to escalate as elections draw closer. Police warn of strikes against Christians and foreigners to coincide with the elections.

Many of the parties in the race are campaigning for strict Sharia law to be implemented throughout the country. The basis of the Sharia law is the Sharia, which contains the rules by which a Muslim society is organized and governed, and it provides the means to resolve conflicts among individuals and between the individual and the state.

Currently some 24 secular and radical Muslim parties are competing to determine the shape of a new parliament. The first hurdle will be the April 5 elections for parliament. On July 5, Indonesia will hold presidential elections.

[source: Christian Freedom International]