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Indonesia’s religious leaders condemn New Zealand attacks

JAKARTA (UCAN): In response to the deadly mosque attacks that took place on March 15 in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people died, Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo of Jakarta, Indonesia, issued a statement on March 18 condemning the “savage acts which are against the values of any religious teachings and of universal humanity.”
 
“KWI and all Indonesian Catholics hope that the incident in New Zealand will not ruin good relations between all people from different religious and ethnic backgrounds, particularly in Indonesia which have been maintained well so far,” the head of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference (KWI), said.
 
Reverend Henriette Tabita Lebang, chairperson of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia, expressed deep concern.
 
“We hope the Indonesian people are not provoked by the videos and photos that are meant to spread terror,” she said.
 
“We also call on them not to intentionally share the videos and photos as doing so would only help the terrorists.”
 
“There is no reason for people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, all God’s creations, to kill each other,” she added.
 
Helmy Faishal Zaini, secretary-general of Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, Nahdlatul Ulama, indirectly urged Muslims in Indonesia not to engage in retribution by calling on them to allow law enforcement agencies in New Zealand to deal with the case.
 
Meanwhile, Yendra Budiana, secretary of the Ahmadiyah Indonesia Congregation, said the violence that occurred in Christchurch should serve as an important lesson for both the Indonesian government and people on the need to “promote interfaith dialogue in a more active way and to eliminate hatred and suspicion among the faithful.”
 
Ahmadiyah is an Islamic sect that has been subjected to discrimination and persecution by some mainstream Muslims in Indonesia.
 
There have also been extremist attacks in Indonesia, including bombings, that have killed both locals and foreigners.
 
Meanwhile, The Guardian reported on March 18 that Turkey’s president, Tayyip Erdoğan, drew a rebuke from New Zealand’s foreign minister, Winston Peters, for using footage of the shootings—which was streamed on Facebook Live—in an attempt to stir up support at his political rallies and for displaying extracts from a manifesto posted online by the suspected attacker which was later taken down.
 
The Guardian reported that the New Zealand government is campaigning for Facebook and other social media sites to take down the video of the killings.

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