Muslim mob burns churches in Indonesia

2011-02-08 13:48

Temanggung - A Muslim mob burned churches and clashed with police in Indonesia on Tuesday as they demanded the death penalty for a Christian man convicted of blaspheming against Islam, police said.

Two days after a Muslim lynch mob killed three members of a minority Islamic sect, crowds of furious Muslims set two churches alight as they rampaged in anger over the prison sentence imposed on defendant Antonius Bawengan, aged 58.

A court in the Central Java town had earlier sentenced the man to five years in jail, the maximum allowable, for distributing leaflets insulting Islam.

But this only enraged the crowd, who said the sentence was too lenient, police said.

"Today was the climax of the trial... The mob shouted that he should receive the death sentence or be handed over to the public," Central Java province police spokesperson Djihartono said.

"There are two churches that have been burned. The windows were shattered and the roofs were charred... There is also another church that was damaged."

Commitment to diversity

About 1 500 protesters took to the streets and threw stones at the police, who responded with tear gas and warning shots into the air. One police vehicle was set ablaze, Antara news agency reported.

They chanted "kill, kill" outside the court and "burn, burn" as they set upon the churches.

"There were about 1 500 people who protested against 1 000 police members. The situation is calm now," Djihartono said.

The latest outbreak of religious violence in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country came as pressure mounted on the government to tackle religious extremism and demonstrate its oft-touted commitment to diversity.

Leading international human rights groups condemned Sunday's bloody onslaught on the Ahmadiyah Muslim sect in West Java and demanded an immediate investigation into why police failed to stop the lynch mob.

They joined the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, an autonomous board that advises the US government, in calling for a review of laws seen as persecuting minority faiths, such as the 1965 blasphemy law.

Shocking video

"Indonesia is a tolerant county that should be more intolerant of extremist groups," commission chair Leonard Leo said in Washington overnight in response to Sunday's violence.

"It's time the Indonesian government brings them to account for the violence and hatred they spread."

US President Barack Obama visited Indonesia in November and praised its "spirit of religious tolerance" as an "example to the world".

A shocking video of Sunday's attack shows Muslim fanatics armed with machetes, sticks and rocks screaming "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) as they set upon their victims in a wild frenzy.

They are seen beating and stoning their victims to death, then continuing to beat the corpses in front of police officers.

Three sect members were killed, five suffered extensive injuries and barely escaped alive, and another two remain missing, police said.

The Ahmadiyah break with most Muslims by believing their founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, not Mohammed, was the final prophet of Islam.

Suspects being questioned

"Police should be studying the video closely to identify and apprehend the attackers," said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"And there needs to be a full investigation into why the police absolutely failed to prevent this mob from going on a violent rampage."

Police have said they are questioning two suspects but have made no arrests.

Ahmadiyah spokesperson Zafrullah Ahmad Pontoh called on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to protect people from religious violence.

"Sadistic, sadistic. I can't stand watching the video. The people who did this are inhuman, they have no conscience at all," he said.

Indonesia's constitution explicitly guarantees freedom of religion. But under pressure from Islamic conservatives, the government in 2008 banned the Ahmadiyah from spreading their faith.

Rights groups said the ban had given legal cover for vigilante violence and should be revoked immediately.

Activists also demanded the resignation of Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali, who says the Ahmadis would be safe if they simply renounced Islam. Last year he called for the sect to be banned outright.

  • coolwaynie - 2011-02-08 14:06

    How dare he blaspheme. Kill everyone. Oh and have a blessed day now you hear.

  • Grant - 2011-02-08 14:10

    I demand that they all get the death sentence for blaspheming against christianity by burning the churches down. Idiots

  • Vedder - 2011-02-08 14:18

    muslims idiots!!

      Paco7 - 2011-07-28 08:13

      christian retards

  • Gorilla - 2011-02-08 14:26

    sensitive these guys. try and burn a Koran or write a cartoon or two and all hellfire decends. have. cake. eat.

      Paco7 - 2011-07-28 08:33

      not try and burn a quran...white pigs have done it and they did draw cartoons because they are ignorant and have no respect for other religions

  • Calmone - 2011-02-08 14:32

    Bad news this.When the muslims say anything against other religions they just turn their cheeks.Maybe its time that the muslims get done with what they do other religions.Crazy people.

  • RationalistPabi - 2011-02-08 14:33

    people and their imaginary friends .. i don't suppose the respective gods could deal with the 'blasphemy'issue themselves, they need the ignorant followers to take up arms on their behalf?

  • Claude - 2011-02-08 14:37

    And they call that a do you cause so much destruction, fighting and hating in the world and expect educated, civil society to respect their beliefs..............belong in the dark ages...they treat their women folk that way anyway..........w*(&^*(&kers. Imagine burning down a islamic place of worship in London or New York..............they are two faced

      Waleed - 2011-02-08 15:28

      you say you "educated" yet you stereotype a religion and confuse it with culture... you must have been top of your class judging by your comments...

      Mundu - 2011-02-08 19:36

      It's exactly the kind of religion that Satan would create don't you think?

  • thetugjob - 2011-02-08 14:57

    Mader Chods

  • wgibsonsa - 2011-02-08 15:24

    Just another peaceful muslim bunch going about their daily routine of oppressing woman and killing anyone they believe insults their religion. This is a savage religion that does not tolerate any other religion. They will smile in your face and once your back is turned set upon you like a savage beast. Ballas Obama is blind and stupid if he thinks muslims tolerate anything other than their backward oppressive religion.

  • desertsurfer - 2011-02-08 15:46

    WOW funny that, they can say what they want, burn what they want and kill who they want, and its fine, but say one thing about their religon!

  • Wonderboy - 2011-02-08 15:47

    I totally do not understand this. There must be a huge mistake. Muslims are the most tolerant of all peoples.

  • ZACKIE - 2011-02-08 16:19


      thetugjob - 2011-02-08 16:29

      It makes perfect sense to those of us who can read. Taken from the opening paragraph. "A Muslim mob burned churches and clashed with police in Indonesia on Tuesday..."

      rade8408 - 2011-02-08 16:37

      Yes. There was a break away muslim sect, that the other muslims dont seem to like much. The mob of angry muslims want some guy that was handing out "anti-islam" pamphlets dead. So they rioted and burnt some churches for no other reason than they are freaking stupid intolerant c*nts.

  • raykhado - 2011-02-09 07:04

    What kind of a religion is this,to show that God is love they should learn to lead by example now this one believes in killing other people in the name of God.

  • horst.o.muller - 2011-02-09 08:37

    And we are supposed to believe that in general Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people.

      Paco7 - 2011-07-28 08:35

      believe whatever u want to,but if you put your finger in a horses *ss he is going to kick you

  • Icarus - 2011-02-09 09:14

    This is the true face of islam....a dark, demonic,evil cult that makes people commit murder, rape, robbery, abuse, etc... These people are examples of good muslims - they are only doing what their religion commands of them...... Yet in spite of such overwhelming evidence of the true nature of islam, many non-muslims will continue to support it, and continue the idea that islam is "peaceful", but simply misunderstood...

      Paco7 - 2011-07-28 08:20

      u and the rest of the mongrels on this forum that are anti-Islam can say whatever u want till doomsday it is not going to change the facts.Islam is the purest and most beautiful religion and those people that burned these churches did it because some bonehead christian was handing out pamphlets insulting muslims,read the article in full before making stupid comments, moron

  • Pocho - 2011-07-29 20:50

    I micturate in the general direction of mecca.......

      Paco7 - 2011-08-03 15:17

      may your balls fall off and a giant hairy tarantula crawl up your crack

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