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We’re no longer safe after Ahmadiyah attack: Followers
Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung
“Love for all, hatred for none.” It was this simple verse that attracted Ahmad Bakir, 69, to become a devotee of the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI) when he was young. The verse is a motto of Ahmadiyah teaching, to which he was introduced by his grandmother and mother.
Ahmadis, as devotees are called, believe in the resurrection of the Prophet Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), in the hereafter. They also believe that the messiah is Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), from Qadian, a small village in Punjab, India, who establish Ahmadiyah in 1889.
Bakir was sitting with several elder members of the sect translating the Koran into Sundanese in a rear room of Mubarak Mosque on Jl. Cikutra in Bandung, which acts as the JAI center in West Java.
Bakir says Ahmadiyah prohibits violence against others and followers are expected to resort to patience and prayer to counter differences. He says Ahmadiyah has spread Islamic teachings peacefully in Europe and the United States.
With pride, the members told the Post the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London was one of Ahmadiyah’s biggest mosques in the world and could accommodate about 10,000 people.
Bakir said he had never encountered any major problems practicing his faith in Indonesia, until last week when a mob attacked JAI’s Mubarak campus in Parung, Bogor.
Bakir strictly adheres to Ahmadiyah teachings, including the rule that members must marry other members and mass prayers must only be led by an Ahmadi imam. His five children are married to fellow Ahmadis.
“Unfortunately, after the attack, we no longer feel safe as citizens,” said Ahmad Anwar, 75, an Ahmadi from Cianjur who now lives in Bandung. He was introduced to the teachings in 1947. The former soldier from West Java’s Siliwangi Command said he was introduced to Ahmadiyah by the first preacher from India who brought the teachings to Indonesia in 1925, M. Rahmat Ali.
During the early stages when he first began to follow the teachings of Ahmadiyah in Cianjur, neighbors thought he was a Christian because he believed in the resurrection of Prophet Isa and began to avoid him.
But he was committed to the teachings. People’s aversion to the group strengthen his faith and he brought up his five children to become devout Ahmadis, one of them now living in Australia.
According to the group, tens of thousands of people in Indonesia follow Ahmadiyah spread in 300 branches throughout the nation.
The sect was established in Bandung in 1948 and their mosque was constructed on Jl. Sapari in Bojongloa, south Bandung.
“Like other citizens, we do not keep exclusively to ourselves. We have policemen, soldiers and bureaucrats who are Ahmadis. We observe the start of Ramadhan and Idul Fitri based on the government’s decision,” said another Ahmadi.
A common scene at Ahmadiyah mosques is women Ahmadis performing Friday prayers, which is not common at most mosques in Indonesia. However, the group is now more cautious about its activities for fear of an attack similar to the one in Bogor last week.