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Silent Night

Warnings of Christmas Terror Prove Unfounded.

(12/28/2002) Despite widespread predictions of terror attacks during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebrations, the celebration of those two auspicious days on the Christian calendar passed without incident, both in Bali and across all of Indonesia.

While both the Australian, British and U.S. Embassies warned their citizens of a heightened risk of terror attacks over the Christmas holidays and New Year's Period, the critical first part of the holiday celebrations, that saw thousands of Indonesians and expatriates gather at Christian houses of worship, came and went in a most peaceful manner.

To ensure the peace the Government mobilized thousands of soldiers and police personnel to undertake security audits of local churches and to stand guard during all holiday services.

Some local observers saw the successful quiet celebration of Christmas as further proof that the police are gaining the upper hand in closing down the remnants of a nationwide terror network via arrests of suspected terror network members in Indonesia over the past few weeks.

On the heels of calls by Islamic religious leaders that the sternest possible punishments be meted out to those found guilty of the October bomb attacks in Bali, a number of Islamic youth groups across the country saw their members volunteer to attend Christian religious celebrations as a means to express national solidarity and to underline the need for religious tolerance among all Indonesians.