News / Asia

8 Dead in Sectarian Violence at Indonesian Detention Center

A forensic official tags the bodies of illegal migrants from Burma at a hospital in Medan in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, April 5, 2013.
A forensic official tags the bodies of illegal migrants from Burma at a hospital in Medan in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, April 5, 2013.
Sara Schonhardt
A deadly clash between Burmese Buddhists and Muslims being held at an immigration detention center in Indonesia has put authorities on alert.

Police say eight Buddhists were killed Friday during an early morning clash with dozens of Muslim Rohingya at a detention center in northern Indonesia.
 
More than 100 Burmese Rohingya seeking asylum from ongoing religious and ethnic violence in their home country were living at the detention center in Belawan along with 11 Burmese fishermen detained for illegal fishing off Indonesia’s coast.
 
The local police chief there told the Associated Press that the clash started in the early morning hours after a Rohingya confronted a Buddhist fisherman about recent sectarian violence back in Burma. As fights broke out, some inmates reportedly wielded knives.
 
“It definitely highlights a problem for the Indonesian authorities," said Todd Elliott, a security analyst at Concord Consulting in Jakarta. "As more and more asylum seekers come to Indonesia obviously they will bring any conflicts or disputes from their home countries with them and it could erupt into violence here in Indonesia, especially if they’re waiting months and months on end for their asylum applications to be processed.”
 
Thousands of refugees move through Indonesia each year on their way to seek asylum in Australia. In recent months Indonesia has held a number of high-level conferences to address the issue and come up with a better humanitarian response.
 
But the Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights, who apologized for the incident in Belawan, admitted that there were too few security forces guarding the detention center to handle the riot.
 
Officials from Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry said the incident is an isolated case and that prior to Friday’s violence the detainees had been living at the center for some time without a problem.
 
Regardless, officials say as long as Burma struggles to contain internal ethnic and religious tension, Indonesia will need to be on alert.
 
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalagawa addressed those concerns in Jakarta at the opening of a workshop on regional conflict prevention.  
 
“Very rapidly any conditions that are unstable even within countries can become at least a non-traditional type of security threat to the rest of the region,” he said.
 
Rioting last month in the Burmese city of Meiktila killed more than 40 people, mostly Muslims. A fire at an Islamic boarding school earlier this week blamed on faulty electrical wiring stirred further fears among the Muslim community.
 
By Friday morning police in Belawan said they had secured the detention center and evacuated those injured to a nearby hospital in Medan.
 
In the wake of the violence the United Nations refugee agency called for calm among the groups involved and urged the Indonesian authorities to move individuals into community housing to prevent further rioting.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: lstmohican from: USA
April 05, 2013 8:38 AM
This is once again the case of Muslim Wahhabi-Sharia-Law extremism sown in Saudi Arabia spilling over from Middle-East to North Africa, Central Asia and now to Far East Asia. A vicious cycle of religiously sanctioned enforcement of “an eye for an eye” as evidenced recently in Saudi Arabia by sentencing a man to “paralysis” for a crime he committed when he was 14. Also recently, a 17 year old Sri Lankan woman, who was employed as a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia, was beheaded by the Saudi.

According to Wahhabi interpretation, Islam divides the world into “dar el-salaam” (the abode of peace) and “dar el-harb” (the abode of war). Dar el-salaam is that part of the world in which Islam rules, i.e. any area which has been subjugated to Islam. According to different Muslim theologians, this could include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other countries. Dar el-harb is anywhere in the world which has not been subjugated to Islam where murder and rape of the non-Muslims ranks as good; lying, cheating and dishonesty are considered necessary evils and hence, form part of the Muslim morality.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid