Jakartan nicknamed ‘Joker’ demands Christian service for children be stopped while carrying saw and axe, gets beaten up the next day

Photo: Video screengrab
Photo: Video screengrab

A video showing a man angrily demanding the end to a religious service for children taking place in an apartment building in Jakarta went viral online, in the midst of escalating religious tensions in the country.

The man, identified as Nasoem Sulaiman but better known in his neighborhood by his nickname Joker, was filmed on Saturday holding a saw and an axe as he demanded that his neighbors stop a Christian religious service in the Pulo Gadung apartment complex in which he resides. The children were terrified and many of them were crying as a heated argument occurred between Joker and the people holding the service.

Joker and the worshippers reportedly came to a peaceful settlement after police came in to mediate between the two parties, with the former promising not to repeat his actions. However, Joker became the victim of a violent attack the next day, which is thought to have been in retaliation for his shutting down of the religious service.

“There were four tall and large men who beat up Joker,” said an apartment resident identified as Budiman, as quoted by Tempo yesterday.

“If (Joker’s) wife hadn’t intervened, Joker would’ve been injured.”

But Joker did sustain some bruises from the beating and, according to some reports, was knocked out cold by his attackers.

The police have arrested a couple of the attackers, and investigation into the case is underway. Authorities believe that Joker’s attackers are not residents of the apartment complex.

Residents at the complex now say they now fear further religious conflict as Joker is known as a popular de facto Islamic authority in their neighborhood.

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