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UPDATED: 11:03, October 03, 2006
Muslim, Christian leaders in Indonesia's Poso called to calm down their followers
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Indonesia's second biggest Muslim organization Muhammaddiyah on Monday called on Muslim and Christian leaders in Poso of Central Sulawesi province to calm down followers in the wake of the execution of three Christians last month, in a bid to prevent sparking sectarian clash.

Chairman of Muhammaddiyah Din Syamsudin warned that the tense situation in Poso may spark to a massive sectarian clash between Muslim and Christians if it can not be controlled.

"I ask Christian leaders to be able to control their mass," he told a press conference here.

Syamsuddin also said that he supported the statement of the Islamic Forum from Poso district, asking Islamic leaders to serenely control their followers.

The chairman revealed that the recent tension in the district had been peak on Saturday evening, as a group of Muslims from Saiyo village had been on face-to-face with a group of Christians from Kawa village, ready for a clash.

"They just separated by a river, on a distance of only 100 meters, the soldiers guarded on Christian side and the police on the Muslim side. Thank to God the authorities could fail them from a clash," said Syamsuddin.

He said the recent heightened tension was triggered by the disappearance of two Muslims named only Arhan and Badarruddin in Poso at the time of the execution of the three Christians on 22 of September.

Indonesia executed three Christians, Fabianus Tibo, Dominggus Da Silva and Marinus Riwu for conviction of triggering mob into a sectarian violence in 2000 in Poso of the Central Sulawesi province.

Sectarian clashes between Muslim and Christians raged in Central Sulawesi province from 1998 to 2000 that killed more than 2000 people before the peace accord achieved.

The chairman confirmed reports of a shooting on the Al Fajar mosque in Poso district, but no report of casualty, and a vandalism of another small mosque in a bus terminal in a Christian majority town of Tentena.

Scores of blasts have occurred in some spots of Poso since the last several days, but no casualty reported.

Indonesian police increased over 300 more personnel to the district on Sunday, bringing the total additional policemen to more than 800, spokesman of the Central Sulawesi province police Muhammad Kilat told Xinhua in telephone from the province.

Over 87 percent of Indonesia's 240 million populations are Muslim, but in some areas of eastern part of the country, including in the Central Sulawesi province, the proportion of Muslims and Christians is equal.

Source: Xinhua

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