The Jakarta Post
Amateur videos purportedly showing a group of people vandalizing what appears to be a mosque over an alleged permit issue in the predominantly Christian Agape housing complex in Tumaluntung village, North Minahasa regency, North Sulawesi, on Wednesday evening have emerged on social media.
The incident is believed to have taken place on Wednesday night.
In one of the videos uploaded by Twitter user @MohCipto1 a group of individuals can be seen taking apart furniture and fixtures while wearing shoes and sandals inside the building. They appear to be followed by onlookers who record the incident on their smartphones.
Separate footage recorded from a different angle purportedly shows a group of men causing a ruckus while taking apart metal fences surrounding the building’s courtyard and damaging some of its walls, which appear to be made of plywood.
The footage also briefly shows a banner put up in front of the building, which reads, “We residents of Tumaluntung village oppose the construction of this mushola/mosque in our area because 95 percent of the residents around the mosque are non-Muslims; we don’t want loudspeakers to disrupt our everyday lives; and we don’t want to be charged with blasphemy for complaining about the noise.”
Another video uploaded by @MT_Reborn purportedly shows North Minahasa Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Grace Krisna D. Rahakbau alongside men in Muslim attire addressing the crowd in front of the mosque. She urges the crowd to calm down as local authorities had secured the scene and promises to swiftly bring those involved in the alleged vandalism to justice.
Ket Kapolres Minahasa Utara thdp Pengrusakan Musholla yg di lakukan oleh orang2 yg tdk bertanggung jawab.— 🇮🇩MT🔝🆔🇵🇸 (@MT_Reborn) January 30, 2020
1. TKP sdh di jaga pihak keamanan.
2. Di adakan pertemuan dgn semua pihak.
3. Musholla yg rusak akan di perbaiki.
4. Para pelaku pengrusakan akan dilakukan penegakan Hukum. pic.twitter.com/juXbRcPKL1
The news has garnered strong reactions from Muslims on social media, with some calling the act “barbaric” and “uncivilized”.
Yusra Alhabsyi, the head of Nadhlatul Ulama’s (NU) youth wing GP Ansor in North Sulawesi and member of the province’s legislative council, told local news portal beritamanado.com that he condemned the act of destruction.
“Apprehend [the perpetrators] in 24 hours at the latest,” Yusra said, while urging the North Minahasa Police to begin a mediation process among local religious figures to defuse tensions.
“Let’s maintain peaceful diversity in North Sulawesi – don’t let the actions of a few people ruin our harmony.”
The building, identified on Google as Al-Hidayah Mosque, has been the subject of controversy among local residents in recent years.
A viral video uploaded last year shows a local village figure sealing the building as she claims it lacks an official permit as a place of worship. A local resident in charge of construction of the building, however, claimed that the building was actually a "public meeting hall" for Muslims, according to beritamanado.com.
Building permits for houses of worship remain a contentious issue, with churches across the country being sealed off after failing to obtain permits, even despite years of compromise.
The regent of Bantul in Yogyakarta, Central Jakarta, refused to reconsider his decision to revoke a building permit for the Indonesian Pentecostal Church in Sedayu district in July last year.
In Jambi, local Christians prepared for Christmas in makeshift outdoor spaces as a number of local churches including the Assemblies of God Church (GSJA) remained sealed off as of last December. (rfa)