Indonesian women repel armed Islamists: reports
MEDAN, Indonesia - Furious Indonesian women fought off a mob of armed Islamists after the religious fanatics tried to evict a mother and her newborn baby from a house, police and reports said Tuesday.
Dozens of angry housewives forced the Islamists to flee for safety and attacked their leader's vehicle during the incident near Medan, northern Sumatra, reports said.
"What the housewives did here was spontaneous and it was because we care for our neighbors who are in trouble," a witness identified as Evi was quoted as saying in the Jakarta Globe.
The melee erupted Saturday when the women rushed to the defence of their neighbour, Nurhayati, and her two-week-old baby.
A group of about 12 stick-wielding men from the Islamic Defenders Front - a notoriously violent vigilante group that is tolerated by the authorities - had attacked her house over a land dispute.
Provincial Front leader Darma Bakti Ginting claims ownership of the land on which his cousin Nurhayati's house was built.
"What he did was inhumane. Just because he's the head of a mass organisation he thought he could take his men, armed, on motorbikes to damage Nurhayati's house. He even took his wife and children to evict her," Evi said.
"This is also a warning to him not to harm poor people. Had the police not arrived here, we would have beaten him."
No one was injured in the incident, which the police attributed to a "family dispute".
Mainly Muslim Indonesia has been gripped by a wave of religious hate crimes involving attacks on minority groups by Islamic radicals such as the FPI.
But the Medan incident suggests groups like the FPI are also involved in other disputes that are unrelated to their self-appointed role as moral guardians.