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The island has a large Muslim majority, almost all of them from the indigenous Sasak community. It also has a wealthy Christian minority and a number of Balinese Hindus who own and manage most of the islandís tourist businesses.
In January 2000, mobs of Muslims attacked Christian properties and churches in Lombok. The violence appeared to be in direct response to the religious clashes in the Moluccan islands, hundreds of kilometres to the north-east.
The attacks were mostly in the capital, Mataram, but several properties in the main tourist centre of Senggigi were also targeted. Five rioters were shot dead by security forces.
Renewed clashes, which have erupted almost exactly one year on, appear to be sparked by a long-standing feud between two villages, Bongor and Parampuan.
There have been fears that the spread of violence to Lombok could threaten Indonesia's tourism industry - one of the country's key foreign currency earners.