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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
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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