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Jakarta Post

Baihajar Tualeka: Ex bomb-maker who campaigns for peace

  • Iman Mahditama

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, November 14 2012   /  11:59 am

In the wide spectrum between war and peace, Baihajar Tualeka has tasted life at both extremes.

Years ago, during the tumultuous times of the sectarian conflict in Maluku in the late 1990s when violence broke out between Muslims and Christians in the province, Bai — as the 38-year-old Muslim is affectionately called — used to help men make Molotov cocktails and slingshots.

It was a time of perpetual confusion and turmoil. Muslim and Christian mobs fought on the streets, hurling bombs and stones at each other.    

Like everybody else in Ambon during that chaotic period, Bai saw the conflict as a holy crusade in the name of religion, staunchly believing that if she died, she would have gone straight to heaven.

However, something happened that completely upended her worldview. One day, she saw a man captured by a rival mob and brutally beaten t...