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  • » 08/13/2012, 00.00

    INDONESIA - MYANMAR

    Indonesian Islamists attack Buddhist temples as revenge for Rohingya

    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

    13/07/2016 17:14:00 MYANMAR
    Burmese Buddhist leaders against anti-Muslim Ma Ba Tha movement

    For the first time, the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee openly disavows the extremist group. In a statement, Buddhist leaders say they never supported the ideas and statements by ultra-nationalists. For a Ma Ba Tha spokesman, the group is a voluntary organisation that does not require anyone’s approval.



    27/05/2017 09:56:00 MYANMAR
    Ultranationalist Ma Ba Tha movement banned for spreading ethnic-religious hatred

    The decision was made by Myanmar’s Buddhist authority the Sangha Maha Nayaka,. The movement forced to remove its flags and banners by July 15th. Wirathu, a prominent monk in the organization, was banned from giving sermons for a year. The army rejects the allegations of ethnic cleansing launched by the United Nations.



    14/06/2016 13:34:00 MYANMAR
    For Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi should speak more openly about the Rohingya problem

    The Muslim minority has been denied citizenship and is segregated in refugee camps. Myanmar’s Buddhist majority is opposed to the presence of Muslims in the country. In an interview with Reuters, the Dalai Lama said he talked about the issue with Aung San Suu Kyi. He slams the nationalist attitude. “If Buddha happened, he certainly would protect those Muslim brothers and sisters,” he said.



    04/09/2017 20:04:00 INDONESIA
    Islamists turn the Rohingya case against President Widodo and Indonesian Buddhists

    Buddhists of Chinese origin have been accused of complicity with their coreligionists in Myanmar. Protests break out across the country. The Widodo administration is accused of violating the rights of Rohingya Muslims. The president sends foreign minister to Myanmar and Bangladesh on a humanitarian mission. For the Indonesian ambassador to Myanmar, there is “no genocide".



    14/10/2004 INDONESIA
    Two Christians Killed in Sulawesi




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