« In Indonesia, Chinese Deity Is Covered in Sheet After Muslims Protest » by Russell Goldman, 10/08/2017, The New York Times
A 100-foot statue depicting a Chinese deity was covered with an enormous sheet this past weekend in East Java Province, Indonesia, after Muslims threatened to tear the colossus down amid mounting ethnic and religious tensions across the country.
The Islamist campaign against the statue, a depiction of the third-century general Guan Yu, who is worshiped as a god in several Chinese religions, began online and soon spread to the gates of a Chinese Confucian temple in Tuban, near the Java Sea coast, where the figure was erected last month.
On social media, Muslims assailed the statue as an “uncivilized” affront to Islam and the island’s “home people,” and a mob gathered this week outside the East Java legislature in the city of Surabaya to demand its destruction.
Statues deemed un-Islamic have been destroyed or vandalized around Indonesia in recent years, and several Chinese temples have been set on fire. Covering the statue with a large white tarp was a stopgap measure proposed by the temple’s officials after a governmental religious body pushed them to find a solution…
Colossal statues of Guan Yu have been erected around the world. The Tuban statue, which took more than a year to build at a cost of about $188,000, is the largest of its type in Southeast Asia, according to Indonesia’s Museum of World Records.