Saturday, December 23, 2006

Where is the Peace of Christmas?

We frequently find these comforting words on Christmas cards:

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Two thousand years after those words were spoken, there’s anything but peace on this earth. In the very place where Jesus was born there is fighting and tension and hatred all around. And it’s not just the Jews fighting the Arabs. Muslims are also fighting with Muslims.

And nearer home, in Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, the government has to deploy more than 18,000 troops to protect churches and other religious institutions in Jakarta alone.

Fox News reports:

Tens of thousands of police officers will guard churches across the world's most populous Muslim country over the Christmas
period, amid concerns that Al Qaeda-linked militants could carry out attacks, police said Monday.

The regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah has been blamed for annual strikes in Indonesia since 2000, when a series of coordinated bombings killed 19 people on Christmas Eve. An attack on a Christian market last New Year's Eve killed seven.

The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta warned of a "serious security threat to Americans and other westerners in Indonesia," saying targets could include hotels, malls, businesses, housing compounds, transportation systems, places of worship, schools or public events.

"Terrorists in Indonesia have most often directed attacks at specific buildings or locations. The possibility exists that individual Americans could be targeted for kidnapping or assault," it said in a statement.

More than 18,000 police will be posted at thousands of churches and religious sites in the capital, Jakarta, said police spokesman Col. Ketut Untung Yoga.

Meanwhile, the Australian foreign minister also warned Australians yesterday of possible terrorist attacks being planned around Christmas in Indonesia.

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