Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dispatch from the Front: WoC, II

December 22, 2005 - Bandung, West Java
I've seen fewer "Merry Christmas" signs here, but still more than I think I would see in Los Angeles. West Java has seen some conflict in recent years between Christians and Muslims (though less than in Maluku). MkChicago had a good link in his comment on my last post to the plan for the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) youth organization to guard churches. In West Java a number of churches (maybe 40) have been closed in the past 2 years because of zoning issues brought by Muslim hardliners. In response, Muhammadiyah, the second largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, has offered the use of its facilities (schools, etc.) for use by Christian groups to celebrate Christmas on December 24 and 25. The FPI (Front Perlindungan Islam or Islamic Defenders Front) that has attacked bars and nightclubs (though not involved in bombings, apparently) has also offered to guard churches during Christmas and New Years. The police who are also planning to raise security for churches during this time have advised the FPI not to get to close to the churches, however, so as to not raise suspicion.

Hope to be in East Java (very Muslim area) on Christmas for some participant-observation.


Blogger RaginCajun said...

at the Hyatt: "Celebrate the Holy Christmas with us."
at Tony Roma's: "Merry Christmas"
Banners by the local police wishing folks Merry Christmas.
Christmas carols piped over the sound system at the post office.

1:44 AM  

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