Jakarta. Twelve Buddhist places of worship were burned down or damaged by an enraged mob in Tanjung Balai, North Sumatra, in the early hours of Saturday (30/07), a local official said.
No casualties were reported in the incident, which also saw the destruction of eight vehicles, resulting in billions of rupiah in losses.
The mob allegedly went on the rampage after a woman of Chinese descent reportedly complained about calls to prayers and Koranic recitals over loudspeakers installed at a mosque in front of her home, South Tanjung Balai subdistrict head Pahala Zulfikar said.
He said the situation was further aggravated by provocation against the woman on social media.
"There appeared to be provocateurs who claimed that the woman threw items at the mosque, expelled the prayer leader and stopped the prayers," Zulfikar said, as quoted by CNN Indonesia. "None of that is true but the information has been spread widely."
Calm has since returned to the area and residents have been able to return to their homes for the time being, Zulfikar said.
The police and members of the Indonesian Military (TNI) have stepped up security at all monasteries and temples to prevent similar attacks.
The buildings that were affected are the Ratna Monastery, Dwi Samudra Temple, Tio Hai Bao Temple, Dewi Ratna Monastery, Avolikita Monastery, Him She Kiciliong Tong Temple, Tian Shin Shiong Tie Temple, the Apek Maco Chinese medical facility, the offices of the Putra Esa Foundation, the premises of a social foundation and two other unnamed temples.