They hid behind masks & helmets while beating up ordinary people

Actually, that Jakarta Post account of the “protest” at Irshad Manji’s bookstore talk was a good deal too minimal. Manji gives a fuller account on (ironically) Twitter.

Four years ago, I came to Indonesia and experienced a nation of tolerance, openness & pluralism. In my new book, I describe Indonesia as a model for the Muslim world. But things have changed. Last night at LKiS community center religious extremists assaulted about 150 citizens of Jogja, as well as my team. My colleague, Emily Rees, was struck with a metal bar and had to be rushed to hospital. Her arm is now in a sling. Two other attendees sustained head injuries. I have spoken with them both and, by God’s grace, they will recover. But the reputation of the criminals should never recover: They hid behind masks & helmets while beating up ordinary people & destroying property. These men are cowards. In sharp contrast, the moral courage of several citizens saved my own life. As the gangsters shouted, “WHERE IS MANJI?” citizens shielded my body with theirs. I am immeasurably grateful for and humbled by their bravery. They have proven that Indonesians can unite for human dignity. Indonesians tell me that their police and government are capitulating to the thugs.

But the people needn’t capitulate, she adds.

Anyway – bad stuff. Thugs in masks hitting people with metal bars in an effort to silence a liberal Muslim woman who has a “wrong” kind of sexuality. Bad bad bad stuff.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Those individuals “behind masks & helmets beating up ordinary people” were not police officers?

    The world gets stranger every day…

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