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Govt blames Ahmadiyah for attacks
Erwida Maulia and Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Bogor
Ahmadiyah followers continue to encounter challenges in Indonesia in practicing their religion freely, with the government sticking to its belief that violent acts against the group is their own fault.
After Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali said Ahmadiyah “must be disbanded immediately” for allegedly violating an agreement it had earlier promised to comply with; Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi similarly criticized Ahmadiyah’s failure to comply with the agreement, although he said nothing about disbanding the group.
Speaking to reporters before a Cabinet plenary meeting at the Presidential Office on Monday, Gamawan said, “Ahmadiyah has agreed on the 12 points, and yet it fails to comply with them, which makes non-Ahmadiyah Muslims question it.”
“Had they implemented all the 12 points, I think other Muslims will accept them. If they fail to fully comply, [the violence] will continue.”
Gamawan was referring to a 2008 agreement between Jamaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia (JAI) and the Supervision Committee on Cults and Sects (Bakorpakem), which consists of 12 points including that Ahmadis should regard Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of Ahmadiyah, as a guru instead of a prophet, and that Ahmadiyah should not deem non-Ahmadiyah Muslims as non-Muslims.
He stopped short, however, at mentioning what points the Ahmadis have violated, saying the government was seeking a “permanent solution” to the issue, and that it wanted to collect views from different parties to do so. “We can’t decide on the solution yet as we haven’t had a hearing with Ahmadiyah,” Gamawan said.
Violent acts against Ahmadis in Indonesia have been rising at an alarming rate over the past few years, with the latest incident involving the arson attack on houses and a place of worship of Ahmadis in Cisalada village in West Java regency of Bogor last Friday.
The attack is rumored to have been triggered after a non-Ahmadiyah member of a neighboring village had been stabbed by the Ahmadis.
Bogor Police criminal division chief Adj. Comr. Zulkarnaen Harahap said Monday the police had
questioned 16 witnesses and named four of them suspects; a Cisalada resident for stabbing Rendi, 16, from the neighboring Pasar Salasa village, and three unidentified persons for the arson attack.
Separately in Bandung, the Alliance for Religious tolerance (AKUR) claimed it had found evidence that the Cisalada attack had been planned, and that the police had learned about the plan before the attack occurred.
“Thus, it is not true that there had been a stabbing by the Ahmadis prior [to the attack],” AKUR chairman Asep Hadian Pernama told reporters in the West Java capital.
Arya Dipa contributed to the story from Bandung.