Muslim students attack Catholic schools in Yogyakarta over a Facebook post
by Mathias Hariyadi
Someone going by the name of Rudi Yohanes, who claims to be a student at the Pangudi Lujur 1 school, said on the social network that he was ‘anti-Islamic’. Fundamentalist groups react by attacking three Catholic schools, causing damages and the temporary closure of the facilities. In reality, the name and profile are fakes by an unknown user.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – A message posted on Facebook by a self-styled ‘anti-Islamic’ user provoked a negative reaction among extremist students who attacked two Catholic schools in Yogyakarta, Central Java. The attacks occurred on 19 January, at 4.15 pm, but only now were the motives made public. The two targeted schools are the Pangudi Luhur 1 Catholic Junior High School in Jalan Timoho and the Stela Duce 2 Catholic School in Jalan Suryodiningratan.
According to local sources, 25 extremists forced their way into Pangudi Luhur 1 Junior High School Thursday of last week where they vandalised the school’s property. At the time, a group of students was involved in extracurricular activities. The school, which is run by the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Ploërm (FIC), suffered damages, including eight broken windows.
On the same day, the Stela Duce 2 Catholic School, which is run by the nuns of Saint Charles Borromeo, was also attacked by young fundamentalists. This was followed by another attack, against the St John Bosco Catholic High School, also in Yogyakarta.
Following an investigation by the authorities, the motive for such attacks is clear. Someone by the name of Rudi Yohanes, claiming to be a student at the Pangudi Luhur 1 school, said he was ‘anti-Islamic’ on Facebook without further details. After an inquiry, both police and school administrators determined that no such person attends the school.
At present, the real identity of the person who posted the guilty phrase on the social network under a false profile remains unknown.
The attack against Catholic schools in Yogyakarta caused panic among students and parents across the province. Many schools temporarily closed their doors the next day. Although lessons have resumed, tensions remain high over possible new incidents.
In the past, fringe groups of Muslim students targeted the Piri Islamic School in Jalan Kemuning, also in Yogyakarta, forcing school administrators to suspend all educational activities.
The apparent motive for this violence is the decision to grant its Ahmadi students the right to organise prayers in the school.
For mainstream Muslims, Ahmadis are a heretical and deviant sect because they do not view Muhammad as the last prophet. For this reason, they have been the victim of persecution and targeted killings.