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For Nus Reimas, general secretary of the Indonesia Evangelical Fellowship, the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon brought back horrific and painful memories. More than a year ago, hundreds of well-armed radical Muslim warriors descended on the Maluku island chain in eastern Indonesia to purge the region of its Christians. Among the thousands of Christians they massacred were 38 members of his extended family.

In interviews with Christianity Today, Reimas and evangelical leaders from Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, and Malaysia discussed their experiences of terrorism, violent religious extremism, and wartime atrocities.

Unity Matters


In the Malukus, an estimated 8,000 people have been killed and 500,000 displaced in a prolonged series of shootings and arson since January 1999. About half of the Malukus are Christian. Radicals from Afghanistan with alleged ties to Osama bin Laden, the chief suspect in the U.S. attack, have joined with the extremist Indonesian group Laskar Jihad to purge Christians from the islands and establish an Islamic society.

Facing his family's tragic losses and trusting in God's sovereignty, Reimas said he struggled to apply the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." This determination to practice what he preaches, rather than minimize his pain, allowed him to confront his tragic losses directly.

"Only [then] could I stand up and face the situation," Reimas says. "No one expects things like this, but they happen."

Reimas's response to suffering is more than internal. He now hosts regular meetings of Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox leaders in Indonesia and says the participants have become ...

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The Hard-Won Lessons of Terror and Persecution
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