Muslim youth saves many Christian lives
The Archbishop of Jakarta, Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, has paid tribute to the Muslims who have supported Christians against Muslim extremists before and after the Christmas Eve attacks on Christian churches.
He singled out a youth from East Java names Riyanto who have his life to defend Christians. The 25 year old security guard was a member of the large Muslim organisation Nadhlatul Ulama. Amid widespread panic in a church on Christmas Eve, he took an unidentified parcel to dispose of it, but was killed instantly when it the bomb it contained exploded.
Cardinal Darmaatmadja praised the youth and others of the majority of Muslims not sympathetic to the extremists, in reply to a letter of solidarity from the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples following the Christmas Eve attacks.
He said Muslims in general cannot be held responsible for the recent Christmas Eve bombing attacks, just as it was found that Christians were not to blame for the bombing of the Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta in April 1999.
He explained that behind this violence there is an unidentified force spread among the military, the Old regime, the new government's people and fundamentalist Muslims groups: and that it is therefore a "political rather than religious force".
He told Fides: "The future of the Church in Indonesia - Cardinal Darmaatmadja says - will depend on how far we can maintain and develop our good and strong relations with Muslims in general, through dialogue of life, so that any possible suspicion and tension can be reduced and minimised".