From Sharon Behn in the Washington Times:
Christian groups and some other private relief agencies are being asked to halt their work in the tsunami-ravaged Indonesian province of Aceh and leave the area by March 26, Indonesia’s defense minister said yesterday.
The decision likely will target Western and smaller church groups as the government moves to tighten control over reconstruction work in Aceh, the home of a decades-old separatist insurgency.
“We want each of the relief agencies to be transparent in their programs: Some of them are not clear about their mandates,” said Juwono Sudarsono during an interview in a Washington hotel.
“Aceh is mostly Muslim, and some church groups from Australia and the United States are too eager to be there and do their part,” he said.
Mr. Sudarsono said his government had set March 26 some weeks ago as a target date for moving from the disaster-relief phase of post-tsunami operations to the reconstruction phase.
With that goal in sight, he said, the overwhelming presence of U.S. and Western relief agencies could make members of the local Islamic community uncomfortable, adding that they would be replaced by Pakistani and Saudi Arabian workers….