Police protection for 'mystical' tree after Muslim attack

A POLICE cordon has been placed around a huge banyan tree in the capital of Indonesia after members of a Muslim youth group attacked it to prove it had no mystical powers.

"The city government tried hard not to cut the tree when we built a bus lane. It is more than 100 years old and it is important for the environment," said Susi Marsitawati, of Jakarta's park agency. "But rumours spread that the government was unable to fell the tree because it has supernatural powers."

Indonesia is predominantly Muslim, but a strong mystical vein runs through the culture. Jeje Zainudin, chairman of the United Islam Youth, said the group had carried out the attack to counter superstitions surrounding the tree.

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