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Authorities appeal for calm after latest attack against churches in South Sulawesi
ICC Note: On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi Christian churches have long faced harassment and persecution at the hands of the Islamic majority. In recent weeks arsonists, suspected to be Islamic militants, have launched Molotov cocktails in early morning attacks against multiple Protestant churches.
By Mathias Hariyadi
2/15/2013 Indonesia (AN) -Indonesian authorities have appealed for calm after a number of Christian places of worship were attacked in Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi. In Jakarta, the central government is particularly concerned to avoid an escalation that might lead to sectarian violence.
Three Protestant churches were attacked with Molotov cocktails by unknown assailants. Although there was little damage, the incident has raised concerns that they are part of some political plan to heighten sectarian tensions in order to destabilise the country’s political institutions and thus undermine coexistence in the world’s most populous Muslim country.
The attack occurred in central Makassar at dawn yesterday, St Valentine’s Day, which is a controversial celebration in the Muslim nation. Riding their motorcycles, unidentified attackers three flammable devices at the different places of worship over the period of an hour.
The first church that was hit belongs to the GKI (Indonesian Christian Church), on Samiun Road (pictured). This was followed by an attack against the Toraja Church on AP Pettarani Road and finally a third Protestant church in Gatot. Local sources report that no one was hurt and the three buildings suffered only minor damages.
A police spokesperson in Jakarta said that the attack was connected to attempts by Muslim extremists to heighten sectarian sentiments and fuel religious conflict.
In light of the situation, Indonesian State Intelligence Agency Chief General Marciano Norman appealed to residents to stay calm, urging them not to respond to provocations from any group.

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