March 21, 2009
Muslim Groups Demand Police Crackdown on Ahmadiyah Sect
A group of Muslim organizations led by M. Amin Djamaludin, director of the Institute for Research and Studies on Islam, or LPPI, submitted a petition to the National Police on Thursday demanding that police take firm action against Muslim sect Jamaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia, or JAI.
“Ahmadiyah members have broken a joint decree issued by the ministers of religious affairs and home affairs and the attorney general that restricts the sect’s activities,” Amin told reporters after submitting the petition.
After strong pressure from Muslim groups, Home Affairs Minister Mardiyanto, Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni and Attorney General Hendarman Supandji signed a joint decree on June 10 last year banning the sect from propagating its beliefs. The decision sparked debate and criticism from human rights activists who saw the decree as a violation of human rights.
Amin said Ahmadiyah held a general assembly meeting at Manis Lor in Kuningan, West Java Province, on March 6 and 7.
“We also have a document showing that Ahmadiyah still continues to raise funds from its members to build schools and mosques in 2009 and 2010,” said Amin, adding that he was fully supported by the Muslim Lawyers Team, or TPM, and the Islamic Activists Forum, or FUI.
‘Ahmadiyah still continues its efforts to raise funds to build schools and mosques’
M. Amin Djamaludin, LPPI
“They have no intention to stop their practices,” he said.
Ahmadiyah, an Islamic congregation founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in India about 100 years ago, was legalized by the Indonesian government in 1953.
The Indonesian Council of Ulema, or MUI, the country’s highest authority on Islam, declared Ahmadiyah a “deviant” religious sect in an edict issued last year.
The MUI claims Ahmadiyah beliefs contravene Islamic teachings, because followers of the group believe that the Prophet Muhammad was not the last prophet. One group of Ahmadis believe that Mirza was the messiah promised in the Koran, while another considers him to be the last Muslim prophet.
Cholil Ridwan, a chairman of the MUI, issued an edict banning people from voting for the incumbent president in the upcoming election because of the government’s failure to outlaw the sect.
The House of Representatives’ religious affairs commission has also said that it would demand that the religious affairs minister take firm action against Ahmadiyah because it was continuing to promote its brand of religion.
Jamaah Ahmadiyah secretary Mubarik said on Thursday that everyone possessed the right to file complaints with the police.
“Following legal procedures is better than using violence like what happened at our campus in Parung,” he said, referring to a September 2005 incident in which hundreds of people vandalized a mosque and cars belonging to the sect’s members. Mubarik also denied suggestions that his group had broken the joint decree.
Insp. Gen. Saleh Saaf, head of the National Police intelligence unit, declined to comment on the petition on Thursday.