Indonesian Bishop Sees Grounds for Hope

AMBON, Indonesia, SEPT. 16, 2002 ( Christians and Muslims are united in their desire for peace, says a bishop in this agitated archipelago.

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“They have learned that violence is not the way to reconciliation,” Bishop Petrus Canisius Mandagi of the Diocese of Ambon said during a press conference Saturday.

Questioned about the motives that lead terrorists to stir religious confrontations, Bishop Mandagi stressed that economic reasons cannot be ruled out.

He also said the prolongation of the conflict might serve the interests of individuals who wish to hold on to a political office or to be promoted.

Moreover, the Indonesian bishop pointed out that while the situation remains unstable, it might be opportune if elections for a new governor were postponed and the vacant office assigned temporarily to a substitute.

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