The Jakarta Post
As many as 50 people representing the Sampang Sunni community on Monday signed a peace agreement with their Shia neighbors, who are currently sheltering in low-cost apartments in Sidoarjo, East Java, after being relocated from the regency following prolonged conflict between the two sects.
'We want to forgive each other. We are tired of being in conflict. We cannot stand to see our brothers living in the evacuation camp. Insya'Allah [God willing], all residents are ready to welcome them back,' Saningwar, a resident of Bluuran village in Sampang, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
He said the peace agreement was purely an initiative from Sampang residents without any coercion. He added that almost all residents had wanted to witness the signing of the agreement but they were unable to do so due to transportation difficulties.
The conflict between the two groups reached its peak on Aug.27, 2012, after dozens of houses belonging to Shia followers were burned by angry mobs.
Mohjahro, the coordinator of the Sunni group who visited the relocated Shia followers in Sidoarjo, said he hoped the initiative would garner full support from the Sampang administration, residents and clerics.
Saningwar said Sunni residents had always wanted to initiate a peace agreement with their Shia neighbors. However, he said, they feared that their advances would be rejected.
A coordinator of the Shia group, Iklil Al Milal, said the Shia followers welcomed the peace agreement. 'We've already agreed to end the conflict. There will be no revenge for what we have suffered. Brotherhood is everything to us,' said Iklil. (hrl/ebf)
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