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ICC Note: In Christian majority Papua, Indonesia, local residents begin to see growing number of mosques in this once quite isolated province. A controversial Islamic center and cemetery was recently built – higher than nearby houses and on top of water sources which caused unease among Papuans. The regular Muslim prayer blast through loudspeaker also raises complaints.

04/26/2018 Indonesia (UCA News) – Yan Kossy has lived in Jayapura, the provincial capital of Papua, for many years without being disturbed by the influx of outsiders but he said he finds the recent accumulation of mosques in the surrounding area unsettling.

For example, Muslims recently built an Islamic center and cemetery on a ground higher than where people have lived and sources of water for thousands of years.

Some have taken it as a sign of disrespect and a bid to show the superiority of their religion while others fret about the environmental impact it could wreak.

“The cemetery could contaminate our drinking water,” Kossy said.

Christians were further antagonized when the road to a popular Christian shrine was damaged during the construction of Islamic buildings in the area.

Meanwhile, after the Islamic center was built another problem arose: the loud sound from nearby mosques as they made their calls to prayer.

Marianus Yaung, a resident of Jayapura District, said Muslims who have come to the region often fail to respect the rites or ways of local people.

“They come and build whatever they want,” Yaung told ucanews.com, citing the construction of the controversial Al Agshan mosque in Sentani.

The mosque was built higher than church buildings in the surrounding area, causing Christians to protest.

“They should have discussed their plan first with local people. But they didn’t, which has been interpreted as a sign of disrespect,” Yaung said.

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For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org