Religious leaders condemn bomb blast during Idul Fitri

A bomb rattles residents of Surakarta, prompting a sharp rebuke from religious leaders across different faiths.

By Yenny Herawati for Khabar Southeast Asia in Madiun, East Java

August 21, 2012
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Idul Fitri celebrations in Central Java were interrupted late on Sunday (August 19th) as a bomb went off in the city of Surakarta, also known as Solo. Religious leaders across the faiths have voiced outrage over the attack, which came at a time of festivity and joy in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

  • Nurkholis, an Islamic leader in Madiun, strongly condemned the bombing in Surakarta during the Muslim celebration. The picture above captures Nurkholis speaking in front of devotees during an Idul Fitri prayer on August 20th, 2012. [Yenny/Khabar].

    Nurkholis, an Islamic leader in Madiun, strongly condemned the bombing in Surakarta during the Muslim celebration. The picture above captures Nurkholis speaking in front of devotees during an Idul Fitri prayer on August 20th, 2012. [Yenny/Khabar].

  • The police are investigating the scenes of the explosion near the city's Gladak Monument. [Yenny/Khabar].

    The police are investigating the scenes of the explosion near the city's Gladak Monument. [Yenny/Khabar].

No injuries have been reported in the late night blast, which took place near the city's Gladak Monument. The perpetrators and motive remain unknown.

Heru Prasetyo, a resident of Kauman sub-district in Surakarta, described the incident in a phone call with Khabar South Asia.

"It happened at around 11.00pm. Two people were riding a motorcycle when they threw the bomb. The rider in the front wore a black helmet, and the partner on the back wore a red helmet," Heru said.

The Central Executive Committee Chairman of Indonesia's second largest Islamic organisation, Muhammadiyah, said there was no justification for the bombing.

"We must reject various forms of violence. Any action that smells of anarchy must be avoided. In sacred moments like this, all parties should refrain," said the chairman, Sirajuddin Syamsuddin, also known as Din Syamsuddin. He called on Muslims to avoid any negative or extreme reaction.

"I hope the local police will immediately investigate this case and find the perpetrators of the attack," he said.

The same opinion was expressed elsewhere in Java, including in Madiun to the east.

Nurkholis, a leader in the Madiun Islamic community, said people should respect the Idul Fitri celebration, which is a special moment during which Muslims show respect, love, forgive, spread goodness and help others.

"Many things can be done to show the attitude of togetherness. The blast in Solo today teaches us the value of togetherness and emphasises the importance of finding ways to prevent future violence, unrest, and intolerance. May the perpetrators be immediately arrested and their motivations become known to the police," Nurkholis told Khabar.

Jonathan Mawo, a Christian leader in Madiun, expressed his shock at the blast.

"Idul Fitri is a day which is eagerly awaited by Muslims around the world, including in Indonesia, but the serenity was marred by people who are not responsible. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities," he said.

He urged Christians across the country to respect and show tolerance as their Muslim brothers and sisters celebrate.

"As a form of embodiment of love, Christians should honour our brothers who were celebrating Idul Fitri. Respect for others is an essence of Christian values," Jonathan said.

Surakarta's Governor, Joko Widodo, urged citizens not to panic and encouraged Muslims to continue their Eid celebration.

"I'm sure the police will be able to identify those responsible for the terror that recently occurred in Surakarta. It will be revealed in the near future. I urge people to remain calm so we can continue to celebrate Idul Fitri with our family and relatives," Joko told reporters.

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