DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     December 15, 1999     vol. 10, no. 238

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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INDONESIA OFFICIAL DETAILS PLANNED TALK WITH POPE

        JAKARTA (CWNews.com) - Indonesia's foreign minister said on Tuesday that when he meets with Pope John Paul II later this week he will discuss religious violence in his country between Muslims and Christians.

        "We want to reassure the Vatican that religious conflicts are not part of the Indonesian way of life," said Alwi Shihab, a Muslim scholar now part of the new reformist government. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world with enclaves of Christian majority communities scattered throughout the archipelago country.

        While the country's constitution guarantees religious freedom, but Christians have been regularly targeted over the past two years, being blamed for political and economic turmoil. More than 700 people have been killed this year in clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs in Maluku province, also known as the Spice Islands, about 1,500 miles east of Jakarta.

        The Vatican has expressed concern about hundreds of church burnings across Indonesia in recent years. The Holy Father also has condemned a wave of killings and destruction in East Timor by militia groups backed by Indonesia's military last September following a vote by Timorese for full independence from Indonesia.


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 15, 1999       volume 10, no. 238
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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