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Advisors counsel SBY against banning Ahmadiyah
Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Presidential Advisory Council is advising President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to cancel the issuance of a joint ministerial decree to outlaw “heretical” Islamic sect Jamaah Ahmadiyah.
A ban on Ahmadiyah would be a “bad precedent” to Indonesia’s democracy and freedom of religion, council member and legal expert Adnan Buyung Nasution told a news conference after a meeting with sect leaders here Tuesday.
At the meeting, Ahmadiyah representatives were accompanied by activists from the Alliance of Religious and Belief Freedom.
“We will immediately advise the President to prevent the issuance of the decree for the sake of upholding democracy, tolerance and freedom of religion,” Buyung said.
“We only have a little time to analyze the issue and meet with the President before the joint decree is issued. But we can assure that we will seriously handle this matter.”
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Widodo Adi Sucipto said last week the government would issue a joint decree based on a recommendation by the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem).
The decree is currently being drafted by the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Home Ministry and the Attorney General’s Office.
Bakor Pakem recommended the government outlaw Ahmadiyah for failing to honor the 12-point declaration regarding faith and social values consistent to Islamic values after being given three months to prove its commitment.
The interdepartmental board led by the junior attorney general of intelligence said it found Ahmadiyah had continued to follow activities that deviated from mainstream Islamic teachings.
Buyung said the board and the planned joint decree had no strong legal basis, and were only serving to take repressive actions against a group of people.
“We think the establishment of the board itself has no firm legal basis even though they acted based on the 1965 law on the prevention of the misuse and disgrace of religion,” he said.
Buyung was quoted by detik.com as saying all but one member of the nine-member Presidential Advisory Council opposed a ban on Ahmadiyah.
He identified the disagreeing member as Ma’ruf Amin, who is also deputy leader of the Indonesian Ulema Council that publicly declared Ahmadiyah a “heretical” Islamic sect.
Ahmadiyah spokesman Ahmad Mubarik said his group slammed the Bakor Pakem pronouncement that the sect hadn’t committed to the 12-point declaration.
There should be an independent team, instead of the board, to decide whether Ahmadiyah had complied with the declaration or not, he said.
Ahmadiyah advocacy team member Lamardy said the sect demanded the President protect people in their religious beliefs.
Bakor Pakem, which was established in 1994, consists of senior officials from the Attorney General’s Office, the Indonesian Military, the National Police, the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Home Ministry.
The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute, which is grouped in the Alliance of Religious and Belief Freedom, urged the Attorney General’s Office to dissolve the board, saying it violated people’s basic rights.