This chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to explore how the people of the Indonesian province of North Maluku experienced communal violence as a religious conflict, and continue to remember it that way into the present. Whether it is in their narratives of the violence or the way they commemorated it, the focus on religious fault lines overwhelmed, or at least overshadowed, other understandings of the 1999–2000 conflict. The remainder of the chapter discusses the need to move beyond causation and chronology when studying communal violence in Indonesia; how North Moluccans managed memories of the violence; the ethnography of communal conflict in Indonesia; and fieldwork and data gathering for the present study. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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