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  • » 12/30/2011, 00.00

    INDONESIA

    Sunni mob sets fire to Shia boarding school in East Java

    Mathias Hariyadi

    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.
    Karang Gayam (AsiaNews) – Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country with a Sunni majority, was hit by intra-Muslim sectarian violence. An angry mob set fire to a Shia boarding school (pesantren in Indonesian) yesterday. The school, which included a small mosque, is in Karang Gayam, on Madura, a big island off East Java Province. The province is a stronghold of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country’s largest (moderate) Muslim organisation.

    NU East Java chief Kiai Hajj Mutawakil Alallah condemned the attack. Blaming a “third party”, he said the attack was a hostile act designed to divide local Muslims.

    Earlier, a mob had attacked four houses and shops belonging to a local Muslim, setting them on fire before moving to the Shia Tajul Muluk School and its small mosque.

    Recently, another local Muslim was forced to abandon his property and home and move to another East Java city after he was accused of spreading “fraudulent” Islamic teachings to locals and students in a boarding school. He is the legal owner of the torched boarding school, which had around 130 pupils.

    Established in 2004, the school had only recently raised concerns among local Muslims over the presence of minority Shia educational facility in their territory.

    For local authorities, the incident is due to a local row that got out of hand. For the local chapter of NU, the conflict has a long history and it will try to defuse it before its spreads to other areas.

    The incident highlights an ugly undertone in Indonesia’s life, namely the mistreatment of minorities by majority Sunnis. In this case, Shias were the target, but members of the Ahmadi community have been attacked by Muslim extremists in the past.
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    See also

    12/07/2011 INDONESIA
    Explosion in an Islamic school in Bima, students were building a bomb
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    28/08/2012 INDONESIA
    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.

    19/01/2012 INDONESIA
    East Java: a growing tension between Sunni and Shiite, fears of a conflict
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    21/09/2011 INDONESIA
    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."

    03/09/2012 INDONESIA
    Sampang authorities want to drive out Shiites "barricaded" inside the stadium
    The members of the Shiite minority have been holed up in the sports field since August 27, after clashes with the Sunni majority. For local government their humanitarian conditions are unacceptable, but no official is doing anything to help them. The Islamic Network of Anti-Discrimination and other humanitarian organizations denounce the climate of hatred against the Shia.



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