Headlines

Sectarian attack leaves
three dead in Aceh

Three people were killed and nine others injured when a sectarian attack broke out at Jambo Dalam village in Peulimbang district, Bireuen regency in Aceh on Friday night.

The attack was aimed at the house of Tengku Aiyub Syakuban, 60, after he was accused of disseminating heretical teachings.

The three victims were identified as Aiyub; Muntasir, 26, a residentof Puuk village in Peulimbang; and Manyur, 35, a resident of Lancok Bungon village in Peulimbang. Both Aiyub and Muntasir were reportedly burned alive during the attack.

The three bodies were sent to Dr. Fauziah Hospital in Bireuen, about 250 kilometers from the Aceh capital of Banda Aceh, on Saturday morning.

The attack was reportedly caused by anger among the residents when they learned that Aiyub, who had been reported to the authorities earlier for disseminating what locals called “heretical teachings”, had resumed his activities.

Aiyub had actually signed an agreement to stop his teachings, but later reneged on the pledge. Therefore local residents decided to attack him at his house, which was dark at the time because the lights had been switched off on purpose.

The attackers became increasingly angry and forced their way into the house, only to face an unexpected counterattack once inside. A violent clash resulted and led to the death of Mansur, one of the attackers.

“Due to the counterattack from Aiyub’s followers, the masses were enraged, so they acted blindly,” Aceh Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Gustav Leo said Saturday.

Upon hearing that one of the residents was killed during the attack, a greater number of people gathered and later launched a new attack, setting the house on fire.

Aceh residents have demanded that the government forbid what they called “heretical movements”, and that law enforcers criminalize those who proselytize non-Islamic teachings.

The spread of “heretical teachings” in Aceh is said to have caused public unrest and the victims are from the younger generation, especially high school and university students. Therefore, residents have demanded that the governor issue a decree banning heresy, profanity and apostasy in Aceh.

Bireuen Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Yuri Karsono said that the police officers were still conducting an investigation into the case.

Hundreds of officers, backed by soldiers, have been deployed to the site of the incident to prevent fresh attacks.

“The situation last night was tense. No security officers could enter the incident site or evacuate the victims, let alone ask for information. Now, however, the condition has increasingly returned to normal and we hope there will not be any new clashes,” Yuri said Saturday as quoted by kompas.com.

The attack took place as residents reached a breaking point in their tolerance for Aiyub’s alleged heretical teachings, which they claimed included four “misleading” principles: His mentioning that the Koran was incomplete, the holding of prayers in dark locations, that the performance of Friday prayers was not obligatory for men and that sexual intercourse out of wedlock was permissible.

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