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  • » 06/22/2010, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Bekasi: Islamic extremists destroy an "immoral and blasphemous" sculpture

    Mathias Hariyadi

    It was the "Three young women” sculpture, by a famous Bali artist to welcome those coming into the district. For the fundamentalists it was "immoral", referring to the "Christian Trinity " and aims to convert. Artist: act stupid and misleading".

    Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Islamic fundamentalists in the district of Bekasi, 30 km east of Jakarta, have obtained the destruction of a statue of "Three young women," because it was deemed blasphemous. The bare chest and symbols related to the number "three" - the Trinity of Christian nature - make the work of art "obscene" and "desecrate" the religion of Mohammed. The sculptor has expressed disappointment and disbelief at the destruction, ordered last June 19 by the local authorities, describing the act "stupid and misleading." The Bekasi district thus registers as a new episode of religious extremism after attacks on churches and Christian buildings. Theatre of a rapid urbanization, the area not far from the Indonesian capital has not been able to harmonise economic development and peaceful coexistence, especially between Christians and Muslims.

    Recently, the Islamic Defence Front (FPI) pointed the finger at the statue of the "Three young women" (Tiga Mojana in local language), a work by the sculptor Nyoman Nuart, a native of Bali who is famous worldwide. The extremists have branded the work as "obscene and blasphemous" and have had it destroyed. The artist notes that the sculpture has nothing offensive to the religion of Mohammed, adding that "while being topless," the 17 meters high work of art has no sexual significance and does not intend to offend Islamic morality, also because the young women wear clothes typical of the region of West Java.

    An even more "ridiculous" accusation is that the image seeks to convert people to Christianity: the three women, according to the extremists, recall the "trinity", and therefore had to be demolished. In fact, there are three women because there are three directions leading to the roundabout where the statue was erected. And each woman, according to the intentions of the author, was to symbolise a “welcome” to those who entered the district.

    Following the wave of protests, the district chief imposed the statute’s destruction. A decision, taken by the authorities, also opposed by the moderate fringe of Muslims, according to which "the work of one of the most respected artists in the area, has now gone with the wind." A local witness, under conditions of anonymity, told AsiaNews that every work of the art should be appreciated, as long as "there is nothing blasphemous or contrary to any religion."

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    See also

    18/12/2009 INDONESIA
    A thousand Islamic extremists, including women and children, storm a Church near Jakarta
    The building was near completion and was to be used for Christmas Mass. Local Catholics are afraid that more attacks could take place during the festive season. Police and local authorities urge Catholics to celebrate the service anyway.

    22/03/2013 INDONESIA
    West Java, Bekasi church demolished to gain Islamist consent ahead of elections
    Orders issued by the authorities Carried out, despite the pleas of the faithful. Christian leaders call for calm and to avoid "hostile” gestures. Behind the demolition of the shadow of the elections and the attempt to win Islamic extremist fringe votes. Yasmin Church also at risk.

    21/03/2013 INDONESIA
    West Java: Christians in the streets to stop church demolition, charges against clergyman
    About a hundred members of a Bekasi church are demonstrating in favour of religious freedom. Local authorities plan to demolish their place of worship in a few hours time. After the community's pastor files a case against a Muslim leader who proffered death threats against him, he finds himself charged with defamation and could go to jail.

    03/07/2010 INDONESIA
    Radical Muslims threaten to kill Christian man in Bekasi
    A banner depicting a Christian with a noose around his neck is hung outside a mosque with these words: “This man deserves the death penalty!” Andreas Sanau, together with Henry Sutanto, is accused of organising mass baptisms. “The government must protect all citizens from anarchist action as mandated by the constitution,” says secretary of the Communion of Indonesian Churches.

    22/10/2010 INDONESIA
    Islamic fundamentalists against church named after Mother Teresa
    Plans to build a Catholic place of worship in Cikarang, some 60 kilometres east of Jakarta, is generating opposition among Muslim groups. At least six churches were attacked since last year. Several Protestant clergymen were also assaulted. The authorities have been criticised for failing to stem the wave of intolerance.



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