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July 28, 2010
In this file photo, protesters from Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) shout slogans during a rally to ban Ahmadiyah in front of Presidential Palace in Jakarta. (JG Photo/Jurnasyanto Sukarno)
Tense Standoff in West Java After Police Attempt to Close Ahmadiyah Mosque
Kuningan, West Java. Violent scenes erupted in Kuningan, West Java, early on Wednesday morning when police and local government security officers attempted to seal a mosque belonging to a branch of Islam considered deviant by mainstream Indonesian Muslims.
As police and Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers moved in on the Ahmadiyah mosque in Manislor village, enraged followers began pelting them with rocks and sticks.
Ahmadiyah is a controversial sect that believes its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the last prophet of Islam [**], a claim that contradicts mainstream Muslim beliefs.
Outnumbered, policemen and Satpol PP finally withdrew but the group chased them to the village boundary.
According to Metro TV, the order to seal the mosque came from Aang Hamid Suganda, head of Kuningan district.
As of 10 a.m. this morning, the sect followers were still guarding and blocking the street leading to the mosque.
It was the local government’s second attempt to seal the mosque in the past three days. On Monday, the officers were forced to abort the plan because hundreds of people blocked the street.
On Monday, the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy released a report saying that the government’s one-way system of monitoring religious harmony was ineffective.
“It seems that people and the government do not realize that the right to worship, as stipulated in the Constitution, comes with the right to have a house of worship,” Setara’s Bonar Tigor Naipospos said.