Shia Property Looted In Indonesia; Refugees In Madura Need Food, Clothing

Shia Property Looted In Indonesia Refugees In Madura Need Food ClothingA mob has looted the home and shop of a Shiite family in Sampang, East Java, after an attack on a nearby Shia Muslim boarding school a day earlier.

Hundreds of Shiites are in need of food, clothing, blankets and baby formula in the wake of the arson attack on their Islamic boarding school in Madura, East


UIul Albab, 39, said the mob on Friday evening ransacked his home and an adjoining shop he owned in Karangpenang.

He added that he suspected the looters were members of the same group of Wahhabi extremists who had attacked and set fire to a nearby Shia Muslim boarding school on Thursday.

 He said that the looters took motorcycles, clothes and everything of value in the house.

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“The entire contents of the shop that is adjoining the house was also gone,” Ulul said.

Ulul is one of the 351 Shiites in the region who are now seeking shelter elsewhere following Thursday’s attack on the boarding school.

He and the others were evacuated by local officials to the Sampang sports stadium.

He said that they were willing to leave once they had reassurances from the district police that their property and goods would be kept safe.

“The fact is, the property of our friends is still being looted by the mob. Where is the promise that was made to us? Is it because we are a minority that we are reated like this?” asked a tearful Iklil Almilal, also a Shiite, at the shelter.

Iklil said that they did not know for sure whether the livestock they left in their village was still there. “What is clear is that if there is no certainty provided by the district authority or the Sampang police, it is better for us not to return home,” Iklil said.

Meanwhile, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras) said that other Shia properties were also looted in the area.

“We are still receiving reports from the people who have fled that a number of houses belonging to the Shiites in Nangkernang are being looted by unidentified people,” said Andy Irfan, coordinator of the local branch of Kontras.

He said that Shia families in the area continued to face threats and that the continued looting has convinced them the police are not serious about restoring order.

“The laissez faire approach of the Sampang district authorities, the East Java government, the Central government and Komnas HAM [the National Commission on Human Rights] are a form of human rights violations and therefore just evacuating the Shiites is not the solution,” Andy said. He urged the government to come up with policies protecting the Shiites.

A Maduranese Shia leader, Tajul Muluk, said on Monday that hundreds of Shiites in Sampang, Madura, East Java, rejected relocation following last week’s attack by a mob on their community’s compound.

“We want to live where we were born and raised. Relocating us is not the solution because nobody can guarantee that we will be safe in the new place,” Tajul said.

Earlier, East Java Vice Governor Saifullah Yusuf suggested that the Shiite community relocate to a transmigration area due to safety concerns.

Tajul said that he was urged to relocate to Malang, East Java, by the police in 2006, but refused to do so.

Surabaya coordinator of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) Andy Irfan said that the government’s suggestion proved that it could not guarantee its citizens’ right to practice their faith.

Andy added that the government had failed to protect minorities.

More than 300 Shiites, including 150 children, were forced to leave their houses and to stay at a sports center 20 kilometers away from their compound.

“We want to go home to look after our animals, which are our main income sources. If my cows are dead, I will lose my income,” a Shiite, Ahmad Jamali, told The Jakarta Post.

Jamali said that he was also worried that the mob would launch a second attack on their property.

The mob torched down the community’s property, including an Islamic school building established by Tajul in 2004, a mosque and teachers’ houses, last week, forcing hundreds of its members to evacuate.

Around 155 students and three teachers have taken shelter at one of the student’s houses. However, they will not stay too long in one place; “because they have threatened to attack all the houses of people who have relations with us”, Iklil said.

The majority of Muslims in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world, are followers of Sunni, one of the Islamic brances, while only a small percentage are Shia followers.

Hundreds of Shiites are in need of food, clothing, blankets and baby formula in the wake of the arson attack on their Islamic boarding school in Madura, East Java.

An adviser to the Shiite community, Iklil al Milal, said on Friday that more than 300 Shiites were evacuated to the Sampang sports center, about 20 kilometers from their compound.

“Some of us have chosen to stay at our homes to keep an eye on their livestock,” Iklil told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Iklil said that most members did not bring anything with them as they fled.

“We’ve been asked to stay here temporarily to facilitate the arrest of the perpetrators. We have reported several names allegedly involved in the attack to police, but no one has been arrested yet,” Iklil said.

“We will eventually leave the shelter if the process takes too long,” he added.

The compound belonging to the Shiites was torched on Thursday, reportedly by hard-line adherents of Sunni Islam, which comprises the majority of Muslims in Indonesia.

Several buildings were damaged, including a student dormitory, a mosque, a kitchen, a store and the home of Shiite Islamic boarding school principal Tajul Muluk, Iklil said.

“Our losses might reach Rp 700 million [US$77,000],” he said.

The police have named a suspect, identified only as M.

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