Respect each others' places of worship: Indonesian vice president

Respect each others' places of worship: Indonesian vice president
PHOTO: Reuters

Vice President Jusuf Kalla has called on the people to respect each others' places of worship following a brawl over the burning of a church in a village in Aceh Singkil district in Aceh province.

"[The regulation] regarding the building of new places of worship, which [stated] that there should be a certain number of worshipers or residents, and that it has to be approved by other residents, has to be respected," said Kalla at the Istiqlal Mosque in Central Jakarta on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com.

Kalla said that according to a report he received the brawl occurred when the community refused to allow the church to be built, when in fact the issue had been resolved by local authorities.

"Of course we will settle [the issue] accordingly, through the law. Those who are responsible [for the brawl] should receive a fair trial and sentence," said Kalla.

He added that he was deeply worried by the incident as Indonesia was supposed to be a tolerant country.

The National Police said on Tuesday that one person died and others were injured after a brawl between two mobs over the burning of a church in Sangguran village in Aceh Singkil.

"One man died from a gunshot and four others were injured," said spokesperson for the National Police Sr. Cmr. Suharsono as reported by kompas.com.

Suharsono added that the deceased was from the mob that set fire to the church. An officer of the Indonesian Military (TNI) was among the injured.

Since Tuesday night, Muslims and Christians in the city of Subulussalam in Aceh reportedly joined in to protect four churches in the city following the incident.

A member of the Subulussalam City Toba Community, Piktor Situmorang, called on all the Christians in Aceh Singkil as well as Subulussalam to avoid being provoked by unjustified issues.

"Even Syarif Bancin, one of Subulussalam's Muslim leaders, has joined us to stand guard until morning at the church. In Subussalam, we live in harmony and in peace with other religions," said Piktor on Wednesday.

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