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» 11/02/2011
INDONESIA
Java: Muslim violence against statues of other religions
by Mathias Hariyadi
A radical Muslim group, the Islamic Defender Front (FPI), launches an appeal for the destruction of “un-Islamic” statues, like Chinese dragons, representations of the Buddha or Christian icons if they are in public places rather than in places of worship.

Jakarta (AsiaNews) – The Islamic Defender Front (FPI) launched an appeal on its website on 29 September 2011 with an order to destroy all “un-Islamic” statues in the country, above all those in public places. FPI members were asked to take a stance against the making of statues that Islam does not approve. The request to reject un-Islamic statues was extended to other Indonesian Muslim groups.

The appeal follows a controversy in Purwakarta (West Java) where hundreds of hard-line Muslims destroyed puppet statues representing mythological figures used in traditional theatre in the city’s downtown.

Purwakarta mayor had offered the puppets used in traditional theatre to represent a more “native” Indonesian identity. However, for Muslim fundamentalists, the puppet statues were “religiously wrong”. On 18 September, hundreds of Muslims destroyed a number of them (see Mathias Hariyadi, “Islamic fundamentalists in Java target puppet statues,” in AsiaNews, 20 September 2011).

The FPI also denounced the existence of several “profane” statues, like a big dragon in Singkawang, in West Borneo Province, and a statue of Buddha in Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, which are still standing despite the hostility of Muslim radicals.

“The statue of the big dragon in Singkawang is a form of evil provocation performed by locals of Chinese descent,” the FPI said in its statement.

Singkawang is about 100 km north of Pontianak, the capital of West Borneo, and has a long-established Chinese community. Despite the presence of indigenous Christian Dayaks and Melayu Muslims, the Chinese are in fact a majority in the city.

This year, Muslims destroyed three statues of Our Lady in Bekasi, West Jav. Still, the FPI said that it would not destroy Catholic statues of Jesus or the Virgin as long as they are kept inside churches. The same goes for Buddhist statues in temples. However, “if they are placed elsewhere, especially in public places, they are to be considered an evil provocation and the state should take action,” its statement read.

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See also
11/17/2011 INDONESIA
West Java: moderate Muslims support Yasmin Church against the fundamentalist
by Mathias Hariyadi
12/24/2009 INDONESIA
Indonesia, high alert for attacks on churches during Christmas celebrations
by Mathias Hariyadi
08/12/2005 INDONESIA
Indonesia: Government rejects integralists' request of to ban the Ahmadis
07/23/2005 INDONESIA
Indonesia: Muslims in defence of persecuted Ahmadis
07/16/2005 INDONESIA
Indonesia: Thousands of Islamic extremists against the Ahmadis.

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
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TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

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