» 08/28/2012, 00.00
Sampang: Four killed in clashes between Sunnis and Shiites. Criticism of Government's inaction
Interfaith tension still high on Madura island. Eight injured and dozens of homes destroyed in yesterday’s clashes. A family feud and rivalry between groups are likely to lead to open conflict. Activists, intellectuals and civil society against President Yudhoyono and the central executive.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Tension is still high on
Madura island, Sampang regency, the scene of violent clashes between Sunni and
Shiite Muslims. Hundreds of police and soldiers are patrolling the streets, but
there is a high risk of further skirmishes between the two sides. Yesterday
four people died - two per side - plus eight were wounded and at least forty
houses destroyed. The toll is provisional and may increase if the government
does not intervene decisively to restore calm in an area where open interfaith
conflict has been threatening to break out for months (see AsiaNews 19/01/2012 East
Java: a growing tension between Sunni and Shiite, fears of a conflict), the population points the finger at
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the central executive in Jakarta, unable
to quell the violence in all these months.
Yesterday the majority Sunni attacked the Shiite minority area, after months of
tension triggered by a family feud between the two groups. The police have not
been able to contain the riots, and the government - add several analysts and
intellectuals - was unable or unwilling to take the necessary measures to stop
the outbreak of tension, which now threatens to spread throughout the country.
Several organizations have launched accusations against the head of state,
which they claim is doing nothing to stop the violence and eradicate the seed
of hatred among the faithful of Muhammad in the most populous Muslim country in
the world. For this reason, many moderate leaders and representatives of the
Islamic Front fiercely criticize the work of Yudhoyono.
Among these is Kiai Hajj Arifin Husaein, better known as Gus Nuril, leader of
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in central Java, who says that the president "has
done nothing to resolve the issue." He adds that "no potential
conflict can be eradicated" if the central authority in Indonesia "makes no commitment
to take deterrent measures" to "put an end to the hostilities."
He is echoed by Ahmad Mujahid, who also criticizes the actions of the police
who targeted the Shiite leader Tajul Muluk for "no reason" accusing him -
unfairly - of spreading "illegal" teachings.
The human rights activist Usman Hamid, Jakarta,
also criticizes the actions of the executive under the leadership of Yudhoyono,
the powerful Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) has also issued a statement in
which it explains that the Shia sect has made no "unlawful" teaching.
Speaking to AsiaNews from his office
in Yogyakarta, Mohammad Machasin, professor of
Islamic studies at the Islamic Sunan Kalijaga High School, calls on the authorities
to crack down on provocateurs who "manipulate" opinions and ideas
according to their own interests. As an expert on Islamic history and cultures,
he adds that it is not easy to decide whether the Shiite community of Sampang
is "illegal" or "legal" because of the many
"varieties" of the different movements. But the fact remains that the
government should promote that part of civil society that wants "peaceful
dialogue" to resolve "conflicts between majority and minority confessional
East Java: a growing tension between Sunni and Shiite, fears of a conflict
The local leader of Nadhlatul Ulama demand police intervention against the head of the Shiite community Tajul muluk. According to the indictment he is fomenting sectarian divisions and promoting "illegal teachings " about Islam.
Threats against Christian churches: return of strategy of tension even in Sulawesi
Telephone messages warning of attacks against Catholic and Protestant churches, but they are hoaxes. Police are investigating but it is not clear whether it is political propaganda or conflict of a religious nature. Sulawesi Priest calls for "fellow citizens" not to get carried away "by feelings of hatred."
Sunni mob sets fire to Shia boarding school in East Java
The hate crime against minority Shias took place yesterday on Madura Island. Ahmadi Muslims have been victims of similar acts in the past at the hand of Muslim extremists.
Iraq, 62,000 public employees fired on corruption charges
The interior ministry has launched a campaign aimed at uprooting corruption and sectarian divisions. Political activities have been prohibited for police officials, and sharing of information among Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurds is being promoted in order to ensure law and order in the country. Iraqi minister: "We now have a chance to be the first workable Arab democracy."
UN calls off peace mission to Syria
The suspension was passed yesterday by the Security Council. No longer conditions to continue the work of observers. The mandate expires on August 19. Russia is opposed to the decision and warns of potential negative consequences.
Defeated on ice, but 'first' in history, joint Korean hockey team players hug
After losing to Sweden in their last match, the Korean team ends up in seventh place. Players burst into tears at their imminent separation. "Politicians made that executive decision [to have a joint team]. Our players and staff are the ones that made it work,” said the team’s proud Canadian coach. One South Korean athlete hopes the country is proud of them. "It was bigger than hockey."
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