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November 11, 2005

Malang bishop: 'Azahari bombs out to destroy churches,' - But interfaith harmony continues

Topics: Faith
The bishop of Malang diocese says he has received warnings from police and leading figures in the Muslim world. "They do not scare us; we go ahead with dialogue and are at peace with leaders of all religions".

The bishop has told AsiaNews of terrorist threats against several Catholic Churches that are targeted for destruction a week after the end of the Idul Fitri festivities. Apparently the information is circumstantial, but the interesting aspect is that the information reached him not only through multiple sources, including public security, but also through a prominent Muslim leader.

The Cathedral of Mt Carmel in Jalan is among the targets, together with St Anthony Parish in Pasuran, which has already been destroyed by bomb blasts before (by not-so tolerant Muslims).

However, after St Anthony Parish was destroyed and subsequently reconstructed, the Church of St Anthony became a meeting point for moderates from all religions in the country, and another bomb may well have served to destroy this harmony. But the bishop says that inter-faith dialogue and harmony are well maintained, and according to him, the leaders of the different faiths in the area are friends who often meet even in an informal manner to "discuss a number of matters." Apparently he meets regularly with not only the leaders of other Christian denominations, but "mostly with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Confucians."

The fact that there is a very real danger of yet another bombing of non-Muslim churches shows the intolerance, propensity for violence, and fascism of militant Islamists which make up an ever increasing percentage of the followers of Islam. That danger is real, growing, and imminent to moderate Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Yet, there are indeed peace-loving tolerant Muslims, and in spite the dangers, at least in Malang, there is real interfaith dialogue going on.

Although I can't help but comment that this should be the norm, not the exception, and the fact that this is newsworthy at all, speaks volumes to the revolution going on inside Islam. For the sake of civilization, let's all hope that the moderates win!

Of course, now that Azahari has been killed, perhaps his followers will have to regroup and worry more about running away from the police, than planning to bomb churches.

Posted by Richard at November 11, 2005 8:40 AM

Now that more of the militants have been arrested, I feel confident that the moderates who are only too willing to continue dialogue and to live in peace will ensure that all dialogue continues.

It is encouraging to know that the Bishop was warned by several sources that an attack was imminent and that one of the sources was Muslim. This goes to show that the former President of Indonesia had a better understanding of the need for living in peaceful coexistence (I refer to Wahid who used the Muslim Youth to protect the Catholic Churches - it was one of this group who gave his life to Christ through dying to protect others who were not of his Muslim faith.)

It is interesting to note that the stirrers in Indonesia (that is the actual militant leaders) have not been Indonesian but have been from outside that country e.g. Malaysia and Yemen. These are the radical clerics and others who are moving around the world in order to stir up the Muslim population in order to generate hatred towards others.

If anything we should be encouraged by the news that the Bishop is carrying on this dialogue with the pagans. It is a very good sign for the future.

Posted by: Maggie4Life Author Profile Page at November 11, 2005 8:30 PM

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