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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
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"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
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"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

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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