Indonesian Christians Face Tough Decision

Sunday, February 10, 2002

Indonesian Christians are learning the hard way what it means to "forsake all and follow Christ."

Christian Aid's contact in Indonesia said Sunday that Christians in some villages that have been taken over by Laskar Jihad militant Muslims are being offered the opportunity to leave their villages, but on one condition: They must relinquish all right to their homes, businesses and properties, and never return to their villages again.

Some Christians have been "Islamicized" by being forcefully circumcised. Others are still living as Christians in their communities now controlled by militant Muslims. They are now being told they can leave without becoming Muslims-but the price they must pay for their freedom is to forsake everything they own and never return. Anyone who remains in the village must convert to Islam. Spokespersons for the Islamic community said they will never allow Christians to live in "their" village again.

Christian Aid has provided funds to pay for boat fare for those willing or able to escape from Muslim-held villages. Additional funds are needed to provide food, clothing, housing and other needs for thousands of Christians either chased out of their villages by rampaging Muslim militants, or who have escaped villages now controlled by the Muslims.

For more information, see Insider stories for April 30 and May 7 and 14 and earlier on our website or write and put MI-321 750-PERS on the subject line.