Edited by Andrew T.H. Tan
Chapter 7: Human Tragedy in Sulawesi, Indonesia: 1998–2002
7 Human tragedy in Sulawesi Indonesia: 1998–20021 James Veitch Reasons for the conﬂict2 There is no one reason for this conﬂict in Central Sulawesi just as there is no single explanation for the rise and the inﬂuence of Jemaah Islamiah in Indonesia as a whole.3 But a cluster of factors seem to come together and implode in this situation and it is these that need to be identiﬁed.4 First, there is a history of Muslim activism in South Sulawesi that continues to inﬂuence what happens in the region through movements such as the KPSI (Komite Penegakan Syari’at Islam) and its militant wing Laskar Jundullah. The crisis in Poso and Tentena owed as much to the activities of this group and its allies such as Laskar Jihad as it did to long-standing religious tensions between Muslim and Christian and the earlier inﬂuence of Darul Islam. Second, in the midst of constant change Muslim leaders realize that there is a need to nourish Islam as a religious faith in people’s lives. In this situation not only should the inﬂuence of Christianity as an alternative to Islam be contained, but the competition for hearts and lives also lies in limiting the inﬂuence of Western values on people and in the rejuvenation of Muslim values and beliefs. The continuation of Indonesia as a Muslim nation within a secular state at a time when relationships with the Western world are undergoing radical change threatens these values,...
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