Sumatra Residents Oppose Buddhist Monastery Construction

by NUROCHMAN ARRAZIE, TEMPO Interactive, 10 May, 2010

Jakarta, Indonesia -- Residents of a subdistrict in the provincial seat of Lampung have raised objection over plans by buddhist community in the area to build a monastery in a predominantly muslim customary land.

A senior tribal leader of the Keatuan Balau Chalid Ismail Balau, in East Tanjung Karang Subdistrict, in Bandar lampung said on Monday (10/5) the Balau community demanded municipal authorities of Bandar Lampung to revoke a preliminary license for buddhist community to build a Vihara in Kedamaian Administrative Village.

Chalid said the Holy Vihara Foundation have violated regulation for planning to build a 3,000 square meter monastery in a muslim prediominant area within the customary land of the Balau and a three hectares of residential area.

Residents predicted a sectarian conflict if the project continues and Chalid said they have been disturbed by the plan. “We have tried and still trying to consult the problem with all institutions including the Indonesian Buddhist Representatives (Wali Umat Budha Indonesia) in Jakarta.”

Chairman of the Holy Vihara Foundation and contractor of the project could not be reached for comment.