World Bulletin / News Desk
According to Indonesian news source MetroTv, Christian extremists in Indonesia stormed and burnt down a mosque on the first day of the Eid ul Fitr, the Muslim celebration that marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
Christians in Tolikara, Papua (Indonesia) stormed a masjid today while people were performing the Eid Prayer setting the masjid on fire and attacking the worshipers with stones. The Christians also burned down 6 homes and 11 stores; and forcing Muslims to flee the city.
According to Bringislam website, a letter was issued by the GIDI (Evangelical Christians) who self-pronounced a ban on Eid prayers, wearing of the hijab and others in the city demanding the Muslims to abandon the city - this was despite them having no juristical authority to do so. When Muslims did Eid the Christians waited for them to make begin the prayer and then attacked while they were praying
Papua has desired to separate from Indonesia for sometime and consquently the government is weaker in Papua, hence the clashes. Extremists efforts desiring to make it a Christian dominated city, created their own rules to do so however when the Muslim population violated their self made law, clashes occurred.
The separatist rebels, an American mining company the area, corruption charges of some government officers has contribiuted to a divide between the local Papuans and the central Indonesian government.
Indonesia has part of the largest Muslim population in the Islamic world however west Papua is shared with Papua New Guinea, with a 95% Christian population. A 2000 census indicated that nearly 80% were Christian. In areas where there is a majority there is pressure on the Muslims, threatening or bribing them to revert to Christianity.
Indonesian sovereignty of the area is widely recognised by the international community.