News / Asia

Muslim Mob Burns Churches in Indonesia

Indonesian youths gather outside the church that was attacked by Muslim hardliners in Temanggung, Central Java, Indonesia, February  8, 2011
Indonesian youths gather outside the church that was attacked by Muslim hardliners in Temanggung, Central Java, Indonesia, February 8, 2011

A hardline Muslim mob clashed with police and burned two churches in Indonesia Tuesday to protest what they considered a too-lenient sentence given a Christian for blaspheming against Islam.

The U.S. ambassador in Jakarta expressed concern about the burnings and also deplored an earlier mob attack on a minority Muslim sect in which three people were stabbed and beaten to death.

The Christian, 58-year-old Antonius Bawengan, was given the maximum five-year sentence Tuesday on charges of distributing books and literature that allegedly spread hatred about Islam.

But a crowd estimated at more than 1,000 people attacked police with stones outside the courthouse in central Java, saying the man should have received a death penalty. The mob then set two churches on fire, burning the roofs, and damaged a third.

A day earlier, international human rights and religious rights groups demanded that Indonesia investigate a brutal attack Sunday on members of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect.

A mob set on the group with machetes and planks as they sheltered in the house of a sect leader in western Java. A video has appeared on the Internet showing the attack, in which three people were killed and eight received injuries requiring hospital treatment.

In a statement posted on the U.S. Embassy website in Jakarta Tuesday, Ambassador Scot Marciel said the United States "joins the vast majority of Indonesians" in deploring the violence. He encouraged the Indonesian government to continue to foster tolerance and protect the rights of all communities.

Rights groups have urged the government to lift a decree issued in 2008 banning members of the group from spreading their beliefs, which hold that Mohammed is not the last prophet. They say the decree has just provided an excuse for attacks on the group.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has a reputation for religious tolerance.  But small hard-line factions have been growing increasingly aggressive in recent years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid