Violence Continues in Indonesia while Rescue Proceeds

Thursday, March 15, 2001

Work is underway to resettle Indonesian Christians rescued from violence that continues in this country's Molucca Islands, while thousands more remain to be rescued.

As recently reported in Missions Insider, Moluccan Christians have been the targets of Islamic Jihad warriors seeking to forcibly convert them to Islam. Those who convert--male and female--then undergo circumcision without anesthesia. Those who stand firm in their faith often become martyrs, usually by beheading. The warriors--mostly veterans of the Bosnia and Afghanistan conflicts along with students from local Muslim schools--then parade around the village with the severed heads, hoping to instill fear in the rest of the populace.

Kidnapped Christian children are now in the hands of the Jihad warriors and are being reared as Muslims. "The Jihad warriors find this to be one way to Islamize us Christians," says one refugee recently rescued. "Our children are the easiest to capture. Converting the children is one way of stopping the Christian faith from continuing to future generations. We Christians have lost everything and need help from our brothers and sisters in America because right now it looks impossible to return." Adults are being held captive as well, with at least one report of a Christian woman being forced to marry a Muslim.

Another woman who recently escaped from a Jihad-held village said she and her three children had to survive in the jungle for two weeks. "The only thing we had to eat were coconuts and we had to sleep on the muddy ground," she says. "Then the military found us and took us back. The Jihad warriors told me we would have to become Muslims and be circumcised. When I was finally able to escape, I had to leave my daughter behind with my parents. They are all in danger. I would like to ask for help to get them out of there."

A report on a recent visit to the area reveals much devastation. "On the road north to Tobelo, we saw villages where converts from primitive tribes of the island had built their homes after embracing the Gospel of Jesus Christ," the report says. "It was like watching an eerie doomsday movie as we passed village after village that had been reduced to rubble with no signs of life."

So far, three boatloads of refugees from the Molucca Islands--formerly known as the Spice Islands--have been rescued, and more operations are in progress. About 1200 of our Christian brothers and sisters have found safety from the "Jihad warriors" seeking to stamp out Christianity here. They have joined another 50,000 refugees who have already been settled in a safe location. Pray that the remaining 6000 Christians will be rescued soon without incident.

The evacuation is just the first step. Land is being purchased for the refugees, and a simple one-room house constructed. They will be provided with food for the next six months, until they are able to settle on a piece of land, plant crops, and reap their first harvest. By then, the people should become self-sustaining once again.

At present, many of those already rescued are living in refugee camps where monsoon rains have made an already hard life that much harder. Many refugees have only a plastic tarp for shelter, tarps with holes that allow the rain to pour in, soaking what little bedding and clothes they have and turning the dirt floors into mud.

As difficult as life in a refugee camp is, horrors left behind that were witnessed by the Moluccan Christians are almost beyond description. Please continue to pray for all the Christians to be evacuated from this "war zone" and for their safety until they can be rescued. Also pray that the light of Jesus Christ will shine ever brighter in this heavily Muslim country.

For more information on the situation in Indonesia, and how you can help, write to