The Catholic Church immediately condemned the attack on a mosque earlier this week, saying it has been "an irresponsible act, whether it was committed by delinquents or for political reasons".
    In spite of calls for calm, following the bombing of a mosque, the reprisal was not long in coming. A Catholic church was attacked with Molotov bombs in the city of Ujung Pandang, in the province of Sulawesi Sud. According to local sources, some 1,000 persons attacked and fired on a complex of buildings adjacent to a church, which includes a school.
    Following the bombing of a mosque, the authorities expressed their concern over the growing climate of violence in the country on the eve of elections, scheduled for the beginning of June. The spiritual leader of the mosque burnt in Jakarta appealed to Moslems for calm, stressing that the attack, which was not claimed by any group, was an attempt to sow hatred between the Islamic and Christian religious communities.
    Because of previous attacks on places of worship, some observers are blaming military groups who are interested in retaining power and are opposed to the current process of transition to democracy. These groups could be encouraging the inter-religious violence as a way of justifying armed intervention against the people and of delaying the electoral process.

10:38am 23/4/99 / Zenit


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