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» 08/13/2012
INDONESIA - MYANMAR
Indonesian Islamists attack Buddhist temples as revenge for Rohingya
by Mathias Hariyadi
The fate of Myanmar's Muslim minority is becoming a "domestic problem" for Jakarta. Islamist extremists manipulate images and news to create instability. Buddhist places of worship are attacked in South Sulawesi. In Jakarta, funds are raised for the victims of violence in Myanmar.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - The tragedy of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims could ignite sectarian violence in Indonesia, where Islamist extremists targeted Muslim buildings and announced more actions, violent ones included. The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) slammed the attacks, noting through its President Rahin Yunus that abuses against Myanmar's Muslim minority are not an Indonesian domestic problem. "Anarchy cannot be allowed, especially during the sacred month of Ramadan," Yunus said as he spoke about last week's attacks against Buddhist temples in Makassar and other parts of the archipelago.

Under the military regime of Suharto (1967-1998), issues like ethnicity, religion, race and interethnic relations were taboo and could not be discussed in public. Today events and facts, including international politics, that touch upon them are manipulated to cause domestic tensions. Photos, newspaper articles and distorted images are circulated to stir public opinion against various groups, undermining the authority of the central government.

This is what is currently taking place in Indonesia over the fate of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims. Appeals and pressures on the Indonesian government have now turned to actions and attacks against religious symbols.

Last Friday, groups linked to the Islamic Defence Front (FPI) attacked Buddhist temples in Makassar (South Sulawesi province), turning what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration of solidarity with the Rohingya into a violent protest.

Newspaper articles, images and news that distorted the issue caused the attack by turning an issue in Myanmar and Bangladesh into a domestic Indonesian affair between Muslims and Buddhists, mixing ethnic, religious, political and social issues.

In an uncoordinated fashion, extremists attacked the temples of Xian Ma, Kwan Kong, Ibu Agung Bahari and Girinaga, some singing and chanting slogans.

Last Friday, at the end of the weekly prayer, at least 5,000 Muslims gathered in Depok (Bogor Regency) in a show of solidarity for the Rohingya. During the event, funds were raised for the victims of sectarian violence in Myanmar.

Other meetings and demonstrations were held without violence in the capital Jakarta.


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See also
10/25/2012 MYANMAR
Anti-Rohingya violence: Burmese Muslims not celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice
10/14/2004 INDONESIA
Two Christians Killed in Sulawesi
10/18/2004 MYANMAR
Systematic religious persecution in Myanmar
08/29/2011 INDONESIA
Muslim extremists against movie that promotes tolerance and dialogue
by Mathias Hariyadi
01/16/2013 INDONESIA
East Java: six Catholic schools could be shut down for not teaching Islam
by Mathias Hariyadi

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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