Thousands of Muslims in Asia protest against Trump’s Jerusalem plan

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Protesters waves Palestine flags during a protest outside the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Malaysian Muslims, including members of the ruling party, were protesting outside the US Embassy over Washington’s controversial move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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Muslim groups protest to condemn Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital outside the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia Dec. 8, 2017. (Reuters/Darren Whiteside)
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People hold up the Palestinian flag during a protest by Muslim groups to condemn Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital outside the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia Dec. 8, 2017. (Reuters/Darren Whiteside)
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Muslims crumple a portrait of US President Donald Trumpduring a protest outside the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Malaysian Muslims, including members of the ruling party, hold protest outside US Embassy over Washington’s controversial move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (AP Photo/Sadiq Asyraf)
Updated 08 December 2017
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Thousands of Muslims in Asia protest against Trump’s Jerusalem plan

JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of protesters in Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia joined rallies on Friday to condemn Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, as authorities tightened security outside US embassies.
Leaders in both Asian countries have joined a global chorus of voices condemning US President Donald Trump’s move.
Several thousand protesters, some shouting anti-US slogans and burning an effigy of Trump, gathered in front of the American embassy in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.
In Indonesia, hundreds of protesters mostly clad in white were arriving outside the US embassy in Jakarta, capital of the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. Some wore checkered scarves and waved Palestinian flags, while others shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).
“We have prepared personnel and patrols to secure the US embassy. We are expecting between 500 and 1,000 demonstrators,” said Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono.
The US embassy in Jakarta advised its citizens to avoid areas where there were demonstrations and said its consulate in Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya had suspended public services on Friday.
Indonesia has been a long-running supporter of the two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and there have been public demonstrations in support of Palestine in recent years.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday urged the United States to reconsider its decision and instructed his foreign minister to summon the US ambassador for an explanation.
In Malaysia, leaders from the ruling party United Malay National Organization (UMNO) and the popular right wing Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), both of which represent the majority ethnic Malay-Muslims, led the rally and representatives of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas are expected to join.
Protests are also expected in South Asia. Pakistan’s major Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami has announced rallies in all major cities after Friday prayers.
President Trump said on Wednesday that the United States would move its embassy to Jerusalem in the coming years.
Protests have already broken out in the West Bank and the Gaza strip as the Islamist group Hamas urged Palestinians to launch a fresh uprising against Israel.
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest barriers to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace. Its eastern sector was captured by Israel in a 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem for the capital of an independent state they seek.


Indonesian fishermen return home after release from Philippines militants

Updated 20 September 2018
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Indonesian fishermen return home after release from Philippines militants

  • With the release of the trio, all Indonesians abducted by Filipino militants before 2018 have been released
  • Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines wil boost security cooperation in the Sulu Sea, which is a busy maritime area for fishing boats and cargo vessels transporting coal from Indonesia to the Philippines

JAKARTA: After 20 months being held hostage by militants in the southern Philippines, three Indonesian fishermen were finally reunited on Wednesday with their respective families at the Foreign Ministry.

Vice Foreign Minister A.M. Fachir handed them over from the government to their respective family representatives in a ceremony which was held without media presence.
 
"The condition on the field was getting more difficult. But we made the most of our contacts and assets on the field, and with the Philippines government support we were able to get them released,” Fachir said in a statement from the ministry. .
 
Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry’s director for protection of Indonesians abroad, said the handover was held in private because “it was not a cause for celebration.”
 
“We are grateful for their release, but we still have two Indonesians who were abducted on Sept. 11 and we don’t want to hurt their families’ feeling,” Iqbal said.
 
The three fishermen are Hamdan bin Saleng, Sudarling bin Samansunga, and Subandi bin Sattu, who hail from Selayar and Bulukumba in South Sulawesi province. They were freed from their captors on Friday in Sulu province on the southern Philippines.
 
Rudi Wahyudin, a representative of Sattu’s family, said the family members were devastated during the 20 months Sattu was held hostage but they tried to keep their hopes up by keeping in touch with the foreign ministry to get updates of efforts to release him and his fellow fishermen.
 
“It’s normal for people in our village in Bulukumba to migrate and work abroad. Now his wife has asked Sattu to quit working overseas and find another job close to home instead,” Wahyudin said.
 
Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang said the military attache and he flew to Zamboanga City to pick up the three men, after the embassy received information of their release from the West Mindanao Command.
 
“We thank President Duterte and the Philippines government for their attention and cooperation on this matter. It was a long and delicate process to release them and we had to be very careful because we didn’t want anyone to become victim in the process,” Sarundajang said at the press conference.    
 
According to the ambassador, the three men were moved and had to island-hopped to various small islands on the Sulu archipelago as their captors were avoiding the Philippine military operation.
 
The three men were working as crew members in a Malaysian fishing boat when they were abducted in the waters of Sabah in Malaysia on Jan 2017.
 
Iqbal said there are about 6,000 Indonesians working in fishing vessels in Sabah. Since 2016, there has been 34 Indonesian citizens who were kidnapped by armed militants in the southern Philippines and 13 of them were fishermen who were abducted from their vessels in the waters of Sabah.
 
With the release of the trio, all Indonesians abducted by Filipino militants before 2018 have been released.
 
“We are now working to release the two fishermen who were abducted on Sep 11. We have expressed our concerns to the Malaysian authority on the lack of security on their waters,” Iqbal said.
 
He added that Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines would boost security cooperation in the Sulu Sea between the three countries, which is a busy maritime area for fishing boats and cargo vessels transporting coal from Indonesia to the Philippines.
 
The three neighboring countries agreed in May 2016 to launch joint patrols in the area following a series of hijacking and kidnapping of Indonesian vessels and crew members. The initial maritime patrol was launched in June 2017 and was beefed up with air patrols in Oct 2017.