Christians run for their lives in Ambon, Indonesia. (BBC)
Barack Obama praised Muslim Indonesia as an example for the world during his speech today.
The BBC reported:
US President Barack Obama has held up Indonesia as an example of how a developing nation can embrace democracy and diversity.
He was speaking in Jakarta on a visit to the world’s largest Muslim nation.
Mr Obama said innocent people across the world were still targeted by militants but emphasised that the US was not at war with Islam.
Analysts say it is his biggest attempt to engage the Islamic world since a speech in Cairo last year.
Mr Obama was speaking at the University of Indonesia, before an audience of 6,000 people.
Of course, this is despite the fact that religious violence has escalated since Indonesia gained its independence in 1945.
The Jakarta Post reported:
Incidents of church attacks and religious violence are spreading throughout Java, outside of traditional “hot spots” such as Greater Jakarta and West Java, activists said on Sunday.
The latest violent incident occurred in Sukoharjo, Central Java, on Oct. 13, when 12 people on motorcycles set fire to a Protestant church, said Theophilus Bella of the Jakarta Christian Communication Forum (FKKJ), which documents sectarian violence in Indonesia.
A day before, an attempt to set fire to St. Joseph Catholic church in Klaten, Central Java, was foiled and caused only minor damage, he said in a report made available to The Jakarta Post. On Oct. 17, radical Muslims threatened to attack a Catholic church in Karanganyar, Central Java.
Last month, an unidentified group attacked a Catholic church in Pasir regency, East Kalimantan, it said.
Most of the incidents over the last several years took place in Greater Jakarta and West Java, including attacks and forcible church closures that occurred with little or no intervention from the government, the report said.
According to the FKKJ, officials of Lubuk Linggau, Sumatra, said Huria Kristen Indonesia (HKI) congregation members lacked an official permit and could not conduct religious activities in their church, in apparent response to complaints from local residents.
The FKKJ said religious violence in Indonesia has escalated since the country gained independence in 1945.