U.S. students in “Moderate” Muslim Indonesia to learn about religious pluralism… Islamists promptly destroy country’s last Synagogue before they can visit it
It was perhaps the worst possible time for officials in Surabaya to host students from two US universities hoping to learn about pluralism and democracy.
Hours after the six students from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan arrived on Friday evening, local media reported that one of Indonesia’s last remaining vestiges of its Jewish community had been reduced to a pile of rubble.
Beth Shalom in Surabaya, Java’s only synagogue, was demolished in May after being sealed off by Islamic hard-liners since 2009 reports the Jakarta Globe.
“I’m afraid there’s no right time to come to Indonesia to learn about pluralism because you can find bad examples of intolerant acts almost every day here,” Hendardi, the executive director of Setara Institute, a nongovernmental organization promoting tolerance and pluralism, said on Sunday.
Freddy Istanto, the director of the Surabaya Heritage Society (SHS), told the Jakarta Globe on Saturday that the synagogue had been destroyed, and it was uncertain when it was demolished and who did it.
“In mid-May, I was informed by a member of the SHS that the synagogue was destroyed. In disbelief, I went over there and it had been flattened.”
Freddy reported the case to the Surabaya City Council and prompted the commission to summon the Surabaya Tourism Agency, which was responsible for the heritage building,” Freddy said.
“It was designated as a heritage site by the agency on April 16, 2009. It should have been protected.”
Indonesia police block church service
|The Religion of Peace|
Muslim men burn an Israeli flag outside a synagogue
in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia