08/05/2013, 00.00
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Jakarta: three injured in twin attack on Buddhist temple

by Mathias Hariyadi
So far no official claim for attack. It could be a response to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country. Condemnation by the Minister for Religious Affairs: "The attack does not respect Ramadan, the holy month for Muslims."

Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Indonesian security forces are questioning eight eyewitnesses, who could provide useful details to indentify the bomber who yesterday detonated two small bombs in a Buddhist temple in the capital. The explosive charge was mild, resulted in the wounding of three people, but there were no casualties. Suryadharma Ali, Minister for Religious Affairs, has condemned the action because it "does not respect the sanctity of the holy month of Ramadan", he termed it a "cursed and barbaric" act and hoped that justice will be done. Investigators have found some messages and slogans among debris praising sectarian violence against the Burmese (mostly Buddhists), held responsible for the violence and persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Indonesians are concerned by the twin bombing on Ekayana Buddhist Center, a Buddhist place of worship that is located in Kebun Jeruk, area of ​​West Jakarta. The first bomb was placed at the main entrance, a second exploded in the building, injuring three people.

The bombs went off targeting faithful, who had gone to the temple to pray. The Indonesian population has reacted with outrage and anger at the news of the attack, which took place during the holy month of fasting and prayer and a few days before the Islamic feast of Idul Fitri, which marks the end of Ramadan.

The Minister for Security and Political Affairs, Djoko Suyanto, has condemned the attack and called on the police to conduct a quick and thorough inquiry to avert further violence. The CCTV cameras caught a man on film leaving two parcels within the structure. However, so far there have been no official claims for the attack by any of the known extremist movements.

Last May according to experts an attack was planned targeting the Burmese embassy in Jakarta, connected to the call for jihad against Myanmar launched by Abu Bakar Bashir, the inspirer of the Bali bombings of 2002 that resulted in over 200 deaths. The Islamic leader accused Naypyidaw, of "genocide" against the Muslim minority. The Burmese authorities are imposing birth control to limit the minority's growth while military and Buddhist nationalists are exploiting the climate of tension (dozens of deaths in recent months) to undermine the democratization process initiated by the reformist president Thein Sein.


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