Ivany Atina Arbi and Arya Dipa, Jakarta and Bandung – Two local figures of Jayamukti village in Bekasi regency, West Java, attempted to disperse a Sunday service held privately by a family in their own home, in what many see is yet another case of religious intolerance in the province.
In a short video that went viral on social media, a man wearing kopiah, baju koko and sarong (male Muslim attire in the country) was seen entering a home while shouting that no religious services were allowed inside the building. He was accompanied by another man in a blue shirt and jeans.
The two were later identified as a local Muslim cleric and the head of the neighborhood unit (RW).
The family members seemed to try to calm the two men down by saying that it was just "a usual Sunday service", but the cleric insisted on stopping the activity.
The 30-second footage was first posted by one of the family member Arion Frederick on his Instagram account @arionsihombing, although he later removed the post. However, it has been reposted by a number of accounts as of Monday.
West Java's Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB) head Rafani Achyar confirmed the incident, saying that the Christian family had initially intended to report the cleric to the police.
"However, they decided not to file a report after the Bekasi chapter of the FKUB mediated the matter," Rafani said, adding that the two parties had agreed to consider the incident a misunderstanding.
In a series of Instagram stories, Arion also informed the public on Sunday evening that the case had been settled and ended peacefully with the help of the Bekasi Police, the country's largest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and the FKUB.
"The mediation facilitated by the Bekasi Police, NU and FKUB resulted in a good agreement. I hope we all learn something from this; to keep being tolerant of diversity," he said on Sunday evening.
"My father said this incident shouldn't have triggered hatred [among religious followers] who knew about it. Love is the best solution to all problems. Stay safe for all of us, and keep being positive. God bless."
Arion also posted a video on his Instagram with a caption saying that his family had accepted the apologies conveyed by the local cleric, who had promised that such an incident would not happen again in the future.
West Java, deemed as one of the most religiously conservative regions in the country, has repeatedly seen cases of attacks against minority religious groups, ranging from protests against the constructions of churches and Hindu temple as well as the forced sealing of mosques belonging to Muslim minority sect Ahmadiyah.
The province has repeatedly ranked as one of Indonesia's most intolerant provinces in some surveys published by a number of think-tanks.
The incident in Bekasi prompted criticism from the public, many of whom slammed the local figures for violating the right of every citizen to practice their beliefs.
West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil also deplored the incident in a comment posted in Arion's original video on Sunday.
"This should have not happened, as to worship is the right of every citizen. Besides, praying at home instead of at public spaces is encouraged during the COVID-19 pandemic," Ridwan wrote in the comment section through his official Instagram account @ridwankamil.
Bekasi regency is now among a number of areas in West Java enforcing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 740 and killed at least 62 in the province.
With the partial lockdown, schools, public spaces and offices are closed, while religious gatherings are also forbidden. Residents are told to stay, work and pray from their homes and restrict their movements to slow down the disease's transmission.
As of Monday afternoon, more than 6,700 people have been infected by COVID-19 nationwide, with at least 590 deaths.