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PostWatch: An irregular correction to the Washington Post

Brought to you by Christopher Rake


Thursday, October 17, 2002
9:43 PM

Moral equivalence update... I recently posted on this Bali bombing story and noted the detached, even-handed tone of the following:

In the past four years, religious conflicts between Muslims and Christians have erupted in several Indonesian areas, in particular the eastern regions of the Moluccas islands and in Poso in central Sulawesi. These battles have left more than 5,000 people dead, according to official estimates.

Conflicts have erupted.

No, actually, radical Muslims have been systematically assaulting, killing and forcibly converting Christians. From NRO, last January:

In 1999, horrific stories about Christian persecution in that part of the world started to leak out. A radical Islamic group called Laskar Jihad was terrorizing Christians in a group of islands called the Moluccas, just east of Sulawesi. Christians who refused to convert to Islam were killed; those who did convert were then separated from their families, given Muslim names, and forcibly circumcised — without anaesthetic, and with dirty instruments. Scissors were used on the adults. They were then told to wash in the sea to disinfect their wounds. The women underwent female genital circumcision.

That's for starters.

Laskar Jihad, as noted in this Post story, just said it was disbanding in the eastern Moluccas, no doubt to go underground as the bombing investigation continues. The story linked here also is oddly evenhanded about Muslim-Christian clashes; so far as I know, there are no reports of Christians beheading Muslims, though Muslims behead Christians. Again from NRO:

Eighty-seven percent (174 million) of Indonesia's 201 million people are Muslim — the largest Muslim population of any country in the world. The goal of Laskar Jihad and like-minded radicals is to make Islam the country's official religion, and to impose sharia law. It already exists in Ternate, a small island-city just off of Halmahera. Christian pastors unfortunate enough to be discovered in the area simply get beheaded.

Other than the fact that Indonesia is mentally even father away from the U.S. than it is geographically, it looks like the reporting on this is muddled due to PC to the Nth degree:

One gets the impression that, when it's Christians being murdered or tortured, the international press isn't really interested. That's how Joanna Milosz — a member of the London-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide who recently traveled around the Moluccas — sees it: "The whole Moluccas conflict has been fraught with misinformation from the beginning," she says. "The Western press goes overboard in being sensitive to the Muslim community. They do not want to be Islamophobic, so they ignore the realities of the situation. What has been so astounding is how few other Indonesians know what the actual situation is. The Bacan-Seram islands are where people have faced forced conversions and circumcisions. Christians are subject to especially severe circumcisions. I've heard reports of them doing it to girls as young as 2."

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