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EAST TIMOR: A HOLY WAR? Muslim Experts Confirm It Is Not A Religious Conflict

JAKARTA, SEP 30 (ZENIT).- A call for a Muslim Holy War against the invading U.N. forces in East Timor was launched by "marginal fundamentalism," and was only "a remnant of irrelevant past nationalism," once held by Muslim communities in the country, the international agency "Fides" was told by Ulil Abshar-Abdallah.

Abshar-Abdallah is a researcher at the Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), with nearly 40 million members. The statement denies the September 18 rumors that over 100,000 Muslims are preparing to march on East Timor to fight the U.N. force.

"Very few people (responded) to the call," Rozy Munir, another NU high-ranking official, said. More than anything, the call was due to "youthful impetus," on the part of some members. In fact, the NU has condemned the violence in East Timor, and officially accepted the result of the referendum for self-determination.

During the course of the conversation, Abshar-Abdallah confirmed that there was no evidence to prove that violence in East Timor was a Muslim-Christian conflict. According to the Islamic-oriented "Republik" newspaper, the rumors that some 2 million Muslims had gathered on the border between East and West Timor to fight the U.N. invaders, was spread by a fundamentalist group.

"Fides" sources in Jakarta said Abdurrahman Waahid, NU president, offered Xanana Gusmao, the East Timor independence leader, protection in his community in Jakarta. ZE99093004


av Webmaster publisert 04.10.1999, sist endret 04.10.1999 - 21:24