Religious Groups Try To Convert Victims
Many religious groups have moved in to Aceh, looking
to help tsunami victims by handing out bibles and trying
to convert them and others to christianity.
These western christian groups, with notorious records of
aggressive preaching, risk resentments, confrontations and
violence with the local population, religious leaders, and
government authorities, which will jeopardize the international
aid efforts to bring food, clothing, shelter, etc., to the
600,000 local people made homeless by the tsunami. The death
toll in Aceh stands at about 110,000 and is expected to rise.
The head of the Indonesian Council of Clerics, Din
Syamsuddin, in reaction to the attempts of a
christian group to fly hundreds of local children
to a christian orphanage, said that any attempt to
spread religion under the guise of aid is wrong.
Survivors of the tsunami disaster have been deeply
traumatised by their experience and are vulnerable
to the predations of religious groups. The disaster
has led to a huge increase in religious sentiment.
Some christian groups are displaying church names,
and wearing crosses and other religious symbols.
The christian group, "Light of Love for Aceh"
wants to take 50 children to a christian
orphanage in Jakarta.
They want to expose the local people to christian
values, and to know the love and redemption of
An American evangelist, Mark Kosinski, who arrived in
Aceh last week, said that these people need jesus,
because god is trying to wake these people up, and
make them realize that salvation is only in christ.
Last week, one U.S. christian group attempted to
airlift 300 "tsunami orphans" to a christian
orphanage in America, but were prevented from
doing so by the Indonesian government.
The Indonesian government said that it was illegal
for foreigners and non-Muslims to adopt children
Vernon Brewer, the president of WorldHelp, complains
that the christian groups wanting to place local
children in christian orphanages is no different
than placing Hindu children in christian orphanages.
"What we attempted to do was no different than what
other christian groups have done to "help" other
children in other countries around the world.