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Jakarta Post

Bantul to replace Catholic official after protests from Muslims

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta   /   Mon, January 9, 2017   /  08:20 pm
Bantul to replace Catholic official after protests from Muslims A statue of Jesus is unveiled at the Yakobus Alfeus Church in Pajangan, Bantul, on Oct. 2 last year. (Courtesy of Pajangan Police/File)

The Bantul regency administration in Yogyakarta decided on Monday to replace the Catholic district head of Pajangan, Yulius Suharta, after protests from Pajangan district residents. The residents of Pajangan district are mostly Muslims.

Bantul Regent Suharsono said the decision was made after a meeting with figures from Pajangan district and the Bantul Council on Monday. In the meeting, most party factions on the Bantul Council agreed to replace Yulius with a Muslim.

“We’re moving him to Bambanglipuro district, where the number of non-Muslims is higher,” Suharsono said after the meeting.

He said the protests from the residents were related to an incident where a Muslim group, Indonesian Jihad Forum (FJI), protested the unveiling of a new, large statue of Jesus, called Patung Wajah Kerahiman, at Yakobus Alfeus Church in Pajangan in October last year.

The regent said the residents were still emotional because the ceremony for the statue involved Muslim women.

In October, a picture of the women, all wearing hijabs and posing with the statue, went viral.

“Humans can err, or make mistakes,” the regent said, referring to his decision to appoint Yulius for the Pajangan post.

He said Yulius would be replaced next month.

A Pajangan community figure, Temu Panggih Raharjo, said Yulius’ appointment was not suitable with the psychological condition of the residents after the case of the Jesus statue in the Yakobus Alfeus Church.

Yulius said he was ready to take up the new post. He was installed in Pajangan on Dec. 30.

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