» 08/21/2014, 00.00
INDONESIA - ISLAM
Borobudur, Islamists target Indonesia’s most important Buddhist temple
The complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, risks being destroyed like the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Authorities strengthen security measures. Citizens invited to participate in the defense of "cultural heritage". President Yudhoyono declares jihadist violence "humiliating" for Islam.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian extremists supporters of the
Islamic State (formerly Isis, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) want to
target and destroy the most important Buddhist cultural center of the country:
the temple of Borobudur, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Central Java Army chief General Sunindyo has stated that he
is strengthening security to protect the highly popular site sacred to the
Buddhist community throughout South-East Asia and major tourist attraction.
The risk is a repeat of what happened in Afghanistan in
2001,when the madness of Taliban extremism led to the destruction of the famous
Buddhas. The local fringe of IS has announced plans to target Borobudur
on a Facebook page called "We are an Islamic state".
Indonesian media and social networks had recently warned of a
possible attack on the temple. Meeting with journalists in Solo, Gen. Sunindyo
recalled that "it is our duty to protect the nation's cultural heritage which
is a primary asset for tourism"; he has also called on all
"citizens" to "protect our cultural heritage".
The Borobudur temple complex is located in the heart of the
province of Central Java and is now considered the largest and most important
cultural legacy of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition of the eighth and ninth
centuries. Built by King Syailendra, the temple features more than 2,600
carvings - for a total length of more than 5 km - and 504 statues of the
Buddha. Already in 1985, the temple has been the subject of was brutally attacked
by Islamic extremists with extensive damage to at least nine stupas on the summit.
Outgoing- president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, often accused
of not intervening in decisive terms against Islamic fundamentalism, has stated
that the violence of the Islamic State is "humiliating" to Muslims.
He adds that "there is no room for them in Indonesia," because
"their philosophy is contrary to [our] fundamental values". He has reiterated
that Indonesia "is not an Islamic state" and respects "all
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is fast
becoming one of the major centers of Islamic activism throughout the region. As
AsiaNews has recently reported, fundamentalist
movements and local Muslim leaders are inspired by the exploits of the
Sunni fighters in Syria and Iraq and intent on supporting the struggle for the
establishment and expansion of the Islamic Caliphate, even
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