Bomb at Buddhist temple in Indonesia aimed at avenging violence against Rohingya

Associated Press, August 5, 2013

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A senior official said Monday that an attack on a Buddhist temple in Indonesia’s capital was apparently aimed at avenging violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The small explosion Sunday night near the front door of the Ekayana Grha Buddhist temple in West Jakarta injured one person and slightly damaged the structure while about 300 devotees were inside praying. Another low-explosive bomb placed near the back door emitted only smoke, while a third device inside the temple failed to go off.

Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali, who visited the scene Monday, said there was a written message on one device saying, “We respond to the screams of Rohingya.”

The attack was aimed at pitting Muslims against Buddhists, Ali said, adding he believes people from both faiths will not be stirred by such an act.

“We strongly condemn the attack. This is a damned and uncivilized action during the holy fasting month,” Ali said.

Earlier Monday, Djoko Suyanto, coordinating minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, called for increased vigilance against any sign of terrorism.

“Security authorities have been ordered to search and capture the perpetrators who have damaged the peaceful environment of the fasting month,” Suyanto said.

Indonesian Muslim militants angered over sectarian violence in Myanmar have threatened to attack Buddhists here. In May, two men were arrested for allegedly plotting to bomb the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta.

Chief of National Police, Detective Lt. Gen. Sutarman, said the terrorists may have shifted their targets from Christian churches to Buddhist temples, possibly triggered by the sectarian conflict in Myanmar.

The head of the temple, Arya Maitri, who accompanied Ali during his visit, said surveillance cameras recorded a man wearing white, who “acted like a Buddhist” and placed a package near the main entrance.