Jayapura, Jubi – The president of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Indonesia (GIDI) the Rev. Dorman Wandikbo said the church’s central governing body had never approved a circular demanding Muslims not perform prayers or wear hijab in Tolikara Regency.
The Rev. Wandikbo told Jubi on Sunday (19/7/2015) that GIDI never forbids Muslims for praying or wearing hijab in Tolikara Regency, as stated in Circular No. 90/SP/GIDI-WT/VII/2015 issued in Karubaga dated 11 July 2015.
The Chairman of Tolikara Region the Rev. Nayus Wenda and Secretary the Rev. Marthen Jingga signed the circular and used GIDI stamp on it. The circular was forwarded to the Tolikara Regent, Chairman of Tolikara Legislative Council, Tolikara Military Regional Commander and for archive.
“The circular has truly been issued, but without prior confirmation to me as the President of GIDI and Tolikara Regent as Chairman of the Committee and Person in Charge. After it was issued on 11 July, Tolikara Police Chief called the regent and me on 12 or 13 July. I said to the chief by cellular phone that ‘I apologize for the circular. It should not be allowed because it’s a big day for Muslims. They must do prayer. If it’s possible they should conduct the prayer as usual in Mushola without using the speaker as regulated in local regulation applied in Tolikara Regency. The regent also apologized to Muslim residents and as a symbol of solidarity he bought a cow that we both gave to them to be slaughtered ahead to Eid Fitr,” revealed the Rev. Wanimbo.
He further said the regent also said to the Police Chief that the prayer could be done in Mushola because there are many students outside. There are almost 3000 people who are currently participating in the seminar and KKR (Church Prayer). “If the prayer was taken outside, it could turn crashed,” he said.
The Rev. Wanimbo further said on 17 July in the morning, the Muslim did the prayer in the Mushola’s yard and used the speaker. Due to this action, about 15 students came to the Mushola and asked them politely that they should be do prayer inside because the distance of Mushola and venue of seminar is only about 300 meters. It would give bad impression.
“But our Muslim brothers were angry and there’s among them carrying a gun and shot a fire. Eventually everyone ran but some got shot. Finally, many people started to come including some guests and myself. But we pulled back because afraid of random bullets,” he said.
At that time, Wandimbo said, the crowd scattered and became upset when seeing some have been shot. Their emotional was provoked and they burned the stall instead of mushola that was located in the center of area. But because the stall was made by wood, the fire spread to resident’s houses and mushola where located behind the stall.
He said the incident has killed a teenager, injured 11 people by the bullet and caused material losses due to houses and stalls burning. It was giving a bad impression over the security forces that were looked miss on duty and not able to secure the situation, which is part of their main task and something they committed to do.
“We strongly deplored on slow socialization of local regulation by the security forces towards Muslim residents that triggered an incident that we never expected. Moreover the religious tolerance over decades among people in Tolikara and Papua in general is very convincing, even it is most preferably in Indonesia,” Wanimbo regretted the slackness of the police. (Yuliana Lantipo/rom)