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For week ended January 30, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

Hinckley's Visit to Troubled Indonesia Gets National Attention
Associated Press 27Jan00 N1

JAKARTA, INDONESIA -- LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley arrived in Indonesia today as part of a scheduled trip through Asia and the Pacific, just as fighting erupted between Christians and Muslims in eastern Indonesia. The latest fighting, which started in the past three days, has claimed the lives of 65 people, according to Indonesian officials. More than 2,000 people have lost their lives in sectarian violence in the past year.

The clashes occurred on the island of Bacan, part of the North Maluku archipelago, 1,600 miles northeast of Jakarta. The latest violence is said to be the result of an influx of Muslims into the area in recent years. President Hinckley is nowhere near the fighting and the fighting is not expected to interrupt his visit.

LDS Church officials told the Associated Press that the visit was at the invitation of Indonesia's President Abdurrahman Wahid. Hinckley was scheduled to have a private dinner with Wahid at the state palace tonight.

This is the first visit of an LDS President to Indonesia, where the Church has about 5,000 members. LDS missionary work started in Indonesia in the early 1970s, but the mission has twice been closed for several years due to difficulties with the Indonesian government. The current mission has been open since 1995.

The visit is a significant opportunity for the LDS Church which has sought a good relationship with Wahid since before he became Indonesia's president. Wahid became friends with an Californian LDS Church member who was staying in Indonesia. When the LDS friend learned that Wahid was going blind, he recommended an LDS doctor in Salt Lake City. Wahid then went to Salt Lake to have surgery at the University of Utah's Medical Center. Wahid first met Hinckley during a follow-up visit to Utah.


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