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Activists report Maftuh for slandering Ahmadiyah sect
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
An non-governmental alliance protecting religious freedoms reported the Religious Affairs Minister to the National Police on Monday, accusing him of defaming the Ahmadiyah sect.
Uli Parulian Sihombing, a lawyer acting for the Alliance for the Freedom of Religion and Faith, said the group had “reported the minister (Maftuh Basyuni) for insulting and slandering … the members of the Ahmadiyah community.”
Uli said Maftuh had violated at least four articles of the Criminal Code by repeatedly saying in the media that the Ahmadiyah sect was heretical and was misleading people.
In the Feb. 20-26 edition of Tempo magazine, the minister was quoted as saying that the members of Ahmadiyah group should stop calling themselves Muslims because their beliefs were heretical to Islam.
The Ahmadiyah follow the prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908), an Indian who claims to be the last prophet of Islam – after Muhammad, an idea mainstream Muslims reject.
Uli said the alliance believed the minister’s statements had helped lead to the persecution of Ahmadiyah followers in Segerongan village, West Lombok. About 120 followers were forced out of their compound there after local Muslims drove them out of the area.
“We will also request police protection for the members of Ahmadiyah,” Uli said.
The alliance, established in July 2005, is made up of NGOs and individuals concerned with upholding the freedom of minority groups to worship.
“We are very concerned about the fate of several religious groups (in the country) whose members have been marginalized and have been prosecuted as criminals for their faiths,” Uli said.
Lia Aminudin, the leader of a small religious group, the Eden community, is currently being tried at the Central Java District court after being charged with inciting civil unrest for spreading the group’s teachings.
When contacted by The Jakarta Post, the minister’s personal assistant, Ahmad, said Maftuh was aware of the alliance’s plan to report him to the police but was unavailable for comment.(04)