Cianjur: Muslims damage tents offered by Christians to earthquake victims
by Mathias Hariyadi

The perpetrators have already been identified and questioned by the police after they removed the banner of the Reformed Methodist Church from tents for displaced people. Local authorities expressed concern, but also stated that displaying the church logo was unwise.

Cianjur (AsiaNews) - Citizens and authorities in the Cianjur district of East Java province, where an earthquake struck last week, killing more than 300 people, have expressed concern after a group of conservative Muslims removed Christian labels from tents donated to evacuees.

In a video that went viral on Twitter, people are seen removing a banner that reads 'Humanitarian Movement of the Indonesian Evangelical Reformed Church' and one man is heard saying 'destroy them', referring to the blue tents provided for disaster survivors. Another man, wearing a long robe and a white cap - clothes usually worn by radical and conservative Muslims - can be seen smilingly filiming the episode.

The earthquake damaged some 62,000 homes and over 73,000 people are now displaced, according to data from the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. 

Cianjur police chief Doni Hermawan explained that four refugee shelters were attacked: Mangunkerta, Sarampad and two other villages. The superintendent added that this action was not carried out by 'intolerant' earthquake survivors, but by members of local Muslim organisations. 'We will prosecute their actions,' he said today after questioning them and warning them not to repeat the act. The Muslims told the police they feared there was 'hidden intention' in the church donations.

Cianjur District Regent Herman Suherman sharply criticised the actions of the perpetrators, saying that they should not repeat themselves again. 'But also publicly displaying the logo and name of the church is not wise,' he added today.

The Governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil, said that 'there are no preferential targets during natural disasters and donors do not make any preference in extending their humanitarian assistance to survivors'.