Cross-shaped Mosaic to be Painted Over in Central Java Over Complaints

01/22/2019 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – After receiving multiple complaints from conservative Muslim groups, the Surakarta administration in central Java has decided paint over a cross-shaped road mosaic in front of its city hall.

The Surakarta’s Muslim Troops (LUIS) and the Surakarta Syariah Council (DSKS) questioned the design of the mosaic and demanded that the city administration review it, saying that an aerial view of the art showed that the design resembled a Christian cross.

According to Straits Times, LUIS spokesman Endro Sudarsono said, “We’ve asked the Surakarta administration to evaluate and replace the cross-like mosaic with other motifs so as not to cause controversy and sectarian disputes.”

The Surakarta mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo, who is Catholic, in response to the controversy, said his administration never planned to have a cross-shaped road mosaic in front of his office. Surakarta deputy mayor Achmad Purnomo also clarified that the mosaic was actually inspired by keraton (royalty) symbols of the Surakarta Sultanate and that its designer was also a Muslim.

In the end, the administration decided to paint over it rather than change the mosaic by adding more tiles. “The administration has met with several religious leaders and came up with a number of solutions. But to prevent the polemic from dragging on, we decided to cover the mosaic with paint,” Surakarta deputy mayor Achmad Purnomo said on January 19.

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