Police Arrest 13 Over Religious Violence

JAKARTA

Police have arrested 13 men over two incidents of religious mob violence thatleft three people dead and churches in flames.

Five people have been detained over the brutal lynching of three members of a minority Islamic sect in West Java on Sunday, after graphic footage of the incident was released on the Internet, police said.

“A total of five people involved in the attack against Ahmadiyah followers have been arrested. More will be arrested as they have been identified through the YouTube video,” Banten province police spokesman Gunawan Setiadi said on Friday.

“At least five people are still at large and our team is still searching for them,” he said.

More than 1,000 extremist Muslims assaulted a house belonging to a leader of the Ahmadiyah sect, screaming “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) as they beat and stoned three sect members to death.

Police knew of the attack but failed to intervene to protect the Ahmadiyah, who have been subjected to regular abuse and persecution since their sect was slapped with restrictions at the urging of mainstream Muslims in 2008.

Two days later another mob of enraged Muslims rampaged through the streets of Temanggung, Central Java, and set fire to churches after a Christian man was jailed for insulting Islam. The crowd wanted him executed.

Police said eight people had been arrested over the incident.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has ordered the police to go “all-out” against any extremist groups behind the unrest, although none has claimed responsibility.

Human rights activists say the ex-general has repeatedly failed to tackle the sources of intolerance in the country of 240 million people, 80 percent of whom are Muslims.

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