Mon, 14 Feb 2000

Rp 2.8m collected for Maluku refugees

BOGOR (JP): Some 700 local Muslims, mostly women, attended a tabligh akbar (mass gathering) in Semplak, north of here, on Sunday to raise money for refugees in the riot-torn province of Maluku.

"We collected some Rp 2.8 million (US$383) at the gathering which will be sent to the people of Maluku affected by the riots," the gathering's organizer, Rachmat Syah M. Saleh of the Cooperation Forum for Bogor Mosques (FKMB), said after the event.

"The gathering was also intended to strengthen the relationship between local ulema and other Muslim activists. We can use the gathering to resolve numerous local and national problems, such as what is happening in Maluku," he said.

During the gathering, Jamal Balfas, another FKMB executive, told attendees that Allah disliked those who caused destruction on earth.

"We are here to show our concern for our brothers and sisters in Maluku, not to cause destruction," he said.

Balfas added: "Let's restore our image by avoiding any acts of destruction after this gathering."

The event ended peacefully with no reports of trouble.

Similar events held earlier in a number of other locations, including Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, and Yogyakarta, were marred by attacks on churches and private residences as the gatherings broke up. (05/24)