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Komnas HAM Reports Findings over Tolikara Case

Translator

Editor

18 July 2015 13:12 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Natalius Pigai, a commissioner at the National Commission for Human Rights, said that the tension that broke out in Karubuga, the capital of Tolikara Regency, Papua on Friday, July 17, 2015, was not merely caused by a religious conflict between Muslims and Christians of the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI). Natalius said that the conflict was also triggered by police shootings against Christians.

“It seems to have been a misunderstanding that GIDI is being hostile to Islam. In fact, they were not planning to burn the mosque. People were upset because of the police shootings,” Pigai told Tempo on Saturday, July 18, 2015.

Earlier on July 11, 2015, Tolikara branch of GIDI chairman Rev. Nayus Wenea and GIDI secretary Rev. Marthe Jingga sent a letter calling for Muslims in Tolikara to celebrate Eid outside of the area since GIDI would hold an international seminar.

“They asked Muslims to turn down the speaker volume since the location of the Eid celebration was next to the seminar venue,” Pigai said, adding that GIDI also asked female Muslims not to wear hijabs.

Although it was addressed to Muslim, the letter explains that GIDI also banned other denomination churches to be erected in Tolikara.

“The Advent Church in Paido District has been closed. [The closures] happened a lot in Tolikara. They closed other churches,” Pigai said.

The circular letter was also forwarded to the Tolikara Precinct Police and the Tolikara administration several days before the Eid. However, Muslims and Tolikara insisted on holding Eid prayer and used speaker at Karubaga.

Pigai explained that GIDI mass were upset and launched a protest to police officers guarding around the location.

“They protested because they have sent a notification earlier, and the officers shot them,” Pigai said.

As a result, GIDI mass started throwing stones at and burning downs stalls and Baitul Mutaqin Mosque.

“They released their anger toward the mosque. If police didn’t release fire at them, things could be different,” Pigai said.

The incident occurred at around 07.30 Eastern Indonesia Time causing Muslims to disperse and sought shelter at a local military command. The Komnas HAM, the Religious Ministry and the Papua Police are still investigating this case.

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