Indonesian muslim woman asks forgiveness for forced conversions

The Catholic news service Zenit reported on Tuesday that the Vatican missionary agency Fides has published an open letter by a Muslim woman in eastern Indonesia's Moluccan Islands, publicly expressing her community's "shame" for the attacks on Christians by Islamic fundamentalists. In a letter addressed to Christina Sagat, a 32-year-old Catholic tortured with circumcision and forced to recant her faith along with others during a surprise attack in Kesui by local Muslims last November.

Mirian Abdulah wrote: "We do not know what to say to you, especially you, the victims. From the bottom of our heart, we ask for forgiveness." Initially Abdulah did not believe the reports of violent, forced conversions but said "when the fact was confirmed by parliaments in England and the U.S., by the U.N. and Australia and by some Muslim friends," she changed her mind. "How sad I felt on learning that, in these modern times, people are still forced to abjure their faith," Abdulah wrote. "Adding to my sadness was the fact that this was carried out by my Muslim brothers toward their fellow Indonesians."

March 31, 2001

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