The International Crisis Group(ICG) warned the Indonesian government of the potential for religious conflict in its eastern province of Papua. A majority of people are Christian which makes it among the few areas where Muslims are in the minority. The ICG report notes “Papua has seen periodic clashes between pro-independence and supporters of government forces, but conflict between Muslim and Christian communities could also erupt unless rising tensions are effectively managed.” Both groups are actively engaged in religious activities and Christians fear the influx of Muslim immigrants which they fear is part of a government plan to reduce the Christian majority. Sydney Jones, of ICG, notes: “The potential for communal conflict is high in Papua because both sides consider themselves aggrieved.”
There is no doubt outside forces play a role in the growing conflict between Muslims and Christians. Muslim extremists are entering Papua and creating new tensions. Christians want to retain their majority while Muslims fear the Christian majority will stifle their rights.