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From An ICC Indonesian Partner
Aceh (the Center of Devastation) Obeyed Shariah Law- Muslims Ask Why Then Was It Devastated

They Were Taught That Christians Were Infidels. . .Why Were The Christians The First To Respond?

At the moment, Muslim circles in Jakarta and other big cities in Indonesia are experiencing confusion and a real shaking of their theology in relation to God and the tsunami. In many newspapers there are 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 Islamic shariah law, can be devastated by such a huge disaster. Is God angry? Why? The Acehnese are extremely devout, live by shariah law and they are one of the most religious people in all of Indonesia .
Another sign of their confusion is related to how they should celebrate Idhul Adha (Islamic day of sacrifice), which falls on Friday 21st January. There are some who say that the sacrifice has to be made by sacrificing an animal sacrifice, while others don’t agree and say they don’t have to kill an animal, but the money can be given to the tsunami victims in Aceh.
Amongst the community of Aceh itself, people are confused about that what they have always heard and thought about Christians (Western countries), these people who are infidels (unbelievers) and who they avoid. The fact is these people were the first to come and help.
There have been many statements arising from the community at grass-roots level such as those below:
1. PKS, a radical Islamic organization, has tried to provoke the community to refuse help from infidels (Christians), but a number of Muslim leaders there 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.”
2. The Acehnese victims are amazed that Christians wanted to cancel the National Christmas Celebrations with the government and give all the money that was to be spent to the victims in Aceh. They are confused and their hearts are asking why Christians would want to do this thing for them.
3. 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?”
4. In Kompas, the foremost newspaper in Indonesia , Saturday, 15th January, 2005 page 4, an instructor at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta named Abdul Munir Mulkhan, 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.”
5. In Jakarta Post, Saturday 22 January 2005, ran an article entitled “Why is God Angry?” Mrs. Habibi survived along with her five children and her husband, but they lost their home in Kampung Baru. This is the third time she and her family have lived in tents, after first being displaced in the 1990s and later by the armed conflict in Aceh.
I don’t know if this is a punishment or a warning, and I don’t know if God loves us or despises us. We have gone through so many ordeals in the past. No one knows what God is up to. All we can do is to pray and hope that things will get better soon. We want to get back on our feet and pick up where we left off. But this disaster has left us with nothing. We can only hope and wait.

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. Christ has died as their sacrifice, He has paid for their sins. May the peoples of Aceh experience the forgiveness of God.