Jayapura, Jubi – The Indonesian Fellowship of Churches and Evangelical institutions (PGLII) has condemned the destruction and arson attack on an Islamic house of prayer (mushola) on Friday, along with kiosks and homes in Tolikara district, Papua.
“PGLII deplored the incident that hurt inter-religious harmony and the holiness of Idul Fitri celebrated by our brothers and sisters in Tolikara. We do not justify any kind of violence that would harm our brotherhood,” PGLII general chairman Ronny Mandang said at a press conference held in Jakarta on Saturday (17/7/2015 as reported by Antara News.
PGLII made the statement in its capacity as an institution that oversees the Evangelical Church in Indonesia (GIDI). This follows an attack on Muslims who were performing Eid prayers at the yard of the 1702/JWY Sub-District Military Command.
Apart from expressing regret, PGLII also extended its sympathy to the Muslims whose Eid prayers were disrupted.
“We also wish to express our sympathy to one GIDI member who died and 11 others who were wounded in the incident,” Ronny said.
PGLII considered the incident to be a local event that did not reflect national conditions.
In view of that, Ronny appealed to the authorities to settle the case through fair law enforcement.
“The government must also investigate the root cause of the incident,” he added.
At 7am on Friday a crowd believed to be GIDI members attacked a group of Muslims who were conducting Eid prayers in Karubaga, the capital of Tolikara district.
Meanwhile, The National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) found several facts in an incident that happened in Karubuga, Tolikara Regency, Papua, on Friday, July 17, 2015.
The commission revealed that the incident did not only involve the burning of a mosque by the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) congregation but also a shooting incident done by the police.
Natalius Pigai, a Commissioner of Komnas HAM said that eleven people were injured and one primary school student, Edi Wanimbo (15 years old) was killed in the incident. Nine of peoples where injured are Altelu Yanengga, Edi Wanimbo? (died), Perinus Wanimbo, Geratus Kogoya, Ketilu Yikwa, Erdinus Yikwa, Alies Kogoya, Emison Pagawak and Yulianus Lambe.
According to Pigai, the victims were injured by the police’ shooting before a group believed to be GIDI members set fire on Baitul Mutaqin mosque.
“The police who tried to blockade the GIDI protestors directly shot at them. Later on, the congregation vented their anger to the mosque. In fact, they were angry to the police because the police shot at some of the residents,” Pigai said on Saturday (18/7/2015).
Responding to the news and information that being circulated in Social Media, President of the Evangelical Church in Indonesia (GIDI), Rev. Dorman Wandikmbo said is not true if GIDI’s members forbids the celebration of Eid Mubarak for Muslims in Tolikara. He also denied that GIDI’s members have set a plan to burn a mushola during the incident.
Rev. Wanimbo said, about three weeks before implementing the event, local church officials had issued a notification letter claimed to have been approved and recognized by the local government and local army and police.
“When the day came, we were surprised that the police and army allowed worship to carried out in the field and using loudspeakers. We have already conveyed (our plans) in the letter,” he said.
Therefore, GIDI’s members come to negotiate with muslims who are preparing to run the Eid prayer. Negotiations have not started yet, suddenly someone of GIDI’s members was shot.
“The unrest was initially caused by the police shooting indiscriminately at residents who asked Muslims practice Eid prayers without loudspeakers,” he said on Saturday (18/7/2015).
Unhappy with the drastic response, some people vented their anger by burning kiosks, which are located not far from the mosque.
“There was never any desire to burn the mosque. Some youths who annoyed anger lashed out to nearby stalls, to show resistance against the repressive attitude of the police. No one ever thought that the fire rapidly spread to the houses and mosque,” he added. (Victor Mambor)