Escalation – Ternate and Tidore
It was in Ternate and Tidore, North Maluku’s historic centres of political and religious power, that the violence took a religious turn. For centuries, Christians had enjoyed relative security in the regional capitals despite the islands’ strong Islamic heritage. But in November 1999, in the wake of the Malifut conflict, they appeared to be caught up in a wave of Muslim anger. Rioting mobs targeted Christians regardless of ethnicity, and destroyed their homes and churches. The violence in these two cities set off a wave of killing and destruction that engulfed the entire province.