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Muslims confused.

Jakarta -- In January, 2005, Muslim circles in Jakarta and other big cities in Indonesia were experiencing confusion and a real shaking of their theology in relation to God and the tsunami. In many newspapers there were articles written by Islamic intellectuals who are asking if God is angry, as is being sung in a popular song. They are asking why an area such as Aceh, which is the only area in all Indonesia that has established shariah law, can be devastated by such a huge disaster. Is God angry? Why? The Acehnese live by shariah law and they are one of the most religious people in all of Indonesia.

Another sign of their confusion was related to how they should celebrate Idhul Adha (Islamic day of sacrifice), which this year fell on Friday the 21st of January. Friday is the Muslim Sunday. There were some who said that it should be done by offering an animal sacrifice, while others did not agree and said that there was no need to kill an animal, but that the money could be given to the tsunami victims in Aceh.

Within the community of Aceh itself, people are confused about what they have always heard and thought about Christians in Western countries, people who are infidels and unbelievers and whom they must avoid. But the fact is that these people were the first to come and help. Many statements arose from the community at grass-roots level such as those below:

PKS, a radical Islamic organization, has tried to provoke the community to refuse help from infidel Christians, but a number of Muslim leaders have been angered by this and have said, You (PKS) come carrying your flag, but they (Christians) have come carrying rice, medicine, tents, etc., and we have been greatly helped.

The Acehnese victims were amazed that Indonesian Christians wanted to donate the money from the national Christmas celebrations (supported by the government) and give it to the victims in Aceh. They are confused and their hearts are asking why Christians would want to do this thing for them.

A Muslim woman phoned a private radio station and asked: please investigate, has the nation of Brunei helped Aceh? I see that many Western nations (Australia, USA, etc.) are helping, but where are our fellow Muslim nations?

In the foremost newspaper in Indonesia, Kompas, of Saturday, January 5, 2005, page 4, an instructor at the State Islamic University, Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta, named Abdul Munir Mulkan, wrote, "The tsunami disaster has initiated global humanitarian action as a criticism of the ethos of neo-capitalism. A number of community groups in Australia, Canada, America and other Western nations are unceasingly raising funds for the tsunami victims on their own initiative. While many Western nations are pouring forth dollars, sending soldiers, heavy machinery and military, we hear little about such action from rich Muslim nations."

Please pray for the peoples of Aceh that they will find true peace with God. May they have their eyes opened to see the glory of the gospel of Christ. Please pray that relief efforts will continue. (Charles Cole, via Maria Koo)
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Title Annotation:Indonesia; effects of tsunami on beliefs in Aceh Indonesia
Publication:Catholic Insight
Geographic Code:9INDO
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Previous Article:Awesome God.
Next Article:"Kristallnacht" for Christians in Galilee.

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