NIAS, Sumatra – While Indonesia has suffered at the hands of outsiders at times during the last 50 years, it is the Islamic crackdown on the minority Christians that is the nation’s greatest scourge, say local believers.

“From the Japanese occupation during World War II to the battle against Dutch colonialism, the Marxism of Sukarno to the right-wing anti-communist government of Suharto, the people of Indonesia have endured much suffering,” said Sister Elizabeth Soto, a Catholic nun living in Sumatra.

“Yet the greatest fight in the history of Indonesia is being waged today – it is the battle between Christianity and Islam. The Muslims in Indonesia claim to be moderate and want to cooperate with the West, but you wouldn’t know it from the bloodshed they have wreaked upon the Christians in Indonesia.”

“Indonesia has been in the grips of a storm for 50 years at least,” she told WorldNetDaily.

At over 200 million inhabitants, Indonesia is the third most populous country in Asia, next to China and India. Nearly nine out of 10 Indonesians are Muslim. More than half of those adhere to Javanese Islamic beliefs, which contain a mix of Buddhism and mysticism. Three percent of the population are Catholic, while 5 percent are Protestant.

When WorldNetDaily visited Lake Toba in the center of Sumatra, scores of Christians living in fear of Islamic jihad spoke of their trials and tribulations. Lake Toba sits adjacent to a large, dormant volcano and is home to some long-standing Protestant churches that have stood as a bedrock for the Christian faith in the region.

“Ming,” a Christian Indonesian of Chinese origin, spoke of the “great persecution” Chinese Christians have endured in recent years.

“The Chinese of Indonesia are hated because we are perceived to control the economy and the financial destiny of the nation,” he told WND.

Ming had been traveling on business through the fabled Spice Islands, the Molaccas, when he “was caught up in a series of attacks launched by Muslims against Christians.”

“They attacked a church and the congregation I was attending,” he said. “They have camps for military training set up. This is well-documented. There was even a film crew from the BBC at one of the Islamic training camps. I have no doubt that sinister forces are at work behind the scenes. ‘Laskar jihad’ they call it, I believe. It’s just unreal how the Christians in the West sit back in their big churches and do nothing.”

Pastor Richard Fu, a Baptist who lives on the shores of Lake Toba, told WorldNetDaily that the Islamic jihad in Sumatra and Indonesia “finds its roots in foreign money, ideology and training in places like Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

“Why does America bomb Afghanistan but fete the leaders of Saudi Arabia, who are the real head of the snake?” he asked.

Fu believes the Islamic jihad is “strongest on the northern tip of Sumatra.”

WorldNetDaily arrived on the northern tip of Sumatra via ferry from Penang, Malaysia. Rich in natural gas and seeking autonomy from Jakarta, Acheh Province is currently the scene of a desperate battle between government troops and Islamic independence seekers.

Muhammad, a 12-year-old Muslim boy living in the war-torn region, says he and his peers engage in military training because they “want the Crusaders out.”

When asked if it mattered to him that almost all Indonesian Christians were non-European, Muhammad told WorldNetDaily, “That does not matter. The Chinese follow the religion of the Crusaders, and so they must be driven out.”

Says Sister Soto, “This is the type of mentality that we, as Catholics and Christians, can only meet with sincere love. Jihad is at the core of every ‘good’ Muslim.”

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The March edition of WorldNetDaily’s magazine Whistleblower examines the untold story of Christian persecution worldwide.

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