The Jakarta Post
Some 2,500 people fled to North Sumatra border areas after a church was burned down on Tuesday in Aceh Singkil, Aceh province.
Head of North Sumatra National Unity and Community Protection Agency (Kesbanglinmas) Eddy Sofyan said that as of Wednesday 1,500 people fled to Manduamas district and another 1,000 fled to Pangindaran district.
'We have coordinated with local Religious Harmony Forum [FKUB] and Regional Leaders Consultative Forum [Muspida] last night to address the issue,' Eddy said as quoted by tribunnews.com.
On Tuesday, a mob that called itself the Aceh Singkil Islamic Youth Movement allegedly burned down the HKI Indonesian Christian Church, which was allegedly built without proper permits, following a protest on Oct. 6 calling on the local administration to tear down the building.
One of the attackers died from a gunshot and four others were injured. The Police were questioning 45 people as of Tuesday.
The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the country's largest Muslim organization, stated on Tuesday they regretted that the government had shown its incapability in anticipating the incident.
'The burning of the church that has claimed a life should not happen in a country where religious freedom is protected by the law,' PGI chairwoman Henriette Lebang said.
Henriette said that obtaining building permits for houses of worship was a complicated issue, and that was why there were churches without permits.
NU chairman Said Aqil Siradj said that burning down a house of worship was unacceptable, no matter the reason.
In Bandung, West Java, speaker of Rumah Bersama Civil Society coalition Harold Aaron urged the government to protect minorities and marginalized groups.
'The incident could cause trauma to the victims,' he said on Wednesday.
(Arya Dipa contributed from Bandung)(++++)
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