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Home Worldwide Indonesia February, 2011 No Remorse Shown in Ahmadi…
No Remorse Shown in Ahmadi Attack
Jakarta Globe, Indonesia
HOME
No Remorse Shown in Ahmadi Attack
Ulma Haryanto | February 17, 2011

Akbar Ramanda, a 17-year-old standing trial for taking part in an October attack against an Ahmadiyah community in Bogor, showed no regrets when he acknowledged his actions to the court on Wednesday.

“The people around me were throwing rocks at the mosque,” he told the Cibinong District Court. “They all shouted ‘Destroy the mosque! Disband Ahmadiyah!’ So I shouted with them, too.”

He was testifying as a witness in the trial of two other defendants in the same case: Dede Novi, 18, and Aldi Afriansyah, 23.

The three are the only people from a mob of hundreds who have been charged with destroying property and inciting violence during the riot in Cisalada village in Bogor.

During the incident, the mob burned down houses, schools and a mosque in the village, home to 600 members of the Ahmadiyah minority Islamic sect. Ahmadis are deemed deviant by many mainstream Muslims for their different beliefs on the Prophet Muhammad.

The three defendants, who are not in detention, are facing charges of destruction of property, which carries a maximum penalty of two years, and assault, which carries a maximum sentence of five and a half years.

During his testimony, Akbar recanted much of what he originally told to police investigators.

An initial statement that he witnessed two men inside the Ahmadiyah mosque burning books was incorrect, he said. He added that the men were merely using a lighter in an attempt to read the books.

And Akbar’s earlier statement that he threw three rocks at the mosque, vandalized the interior and used a chair to break a window was also incorrect, he said.

“I only threw one rock and I didn’t see whether it hit anything. I also only overturned furniture. I stepped on the folding chair by accident and threw it away, I didn’t know where it went, it was dark.”

Akbar, who lives in Pasar Salasa village neighboring Cisalada, told the court that area youths had initially gathered that night for a routine Koran study group.

“But when I went outside, I saw that there were already a lot of them and they were moving toward Cisalada. So I joined them.”

Outside the court, Akbar said that he followed the group because he believed the Ahmadiyah were guilty of conducting religious activities. “They were not allowed to do that,” he said.

He added that aside from weekly visits to the court, his life went on normally. “The witnesses today were also my friends. We take [the visits to court] as a leisure activity.”

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, said the incident showed that intolerant teachings had influenced the nation’s youth.

“The young people now believe that they can do anything against groups labeled as deviant by their religious leaders,” Bonar said.

He called on the government to impose multiculturalism lessons alongside all religious classes.

“And even if the boys in the Cisalada case only get a light sentence, re-educating them on pluralism and diversity would be the most important thing.”

Akbar Ramanda, a 17-year-old standing trial for taking part in an October attack against an Ahmadiyah community in Bogor, showed no regrets when he acknowledged his actions to the court on Wednesday.

“The people around me were throwing rocks at the mosque,” he told the Cibinong District Court. “They all shouted ‘Destroy the mosque! Disband Ahmadiyah!’ So I shouted with them, too.”

He was testifying as a witness in the trial of two other defendants in the same case: Dede Novi, 18, and Aldi Afriansyah, 23.

The three are the only people from a mob of hundreds who have been charged with destroying property and inciting violence during the riot in Cisalada village in Bogor.

During the incident, the mob burned down houses, schools and a mosque in the village, home to 600 members of the Ahmadiyah minority Islamic sect. Ahmadis are deemed deviant by many mainstream Muslims for their different beliefs on the Prophet Muhammad.

The three defendants, who are not in detention, are facing charges of destruction of property, which carries a maximum penalty of two years, and assault, which carries a maximum sentence of five and a half years.

During his testimony, Akbar recanted much of what he originally told to police investigators.

An initial statement that he witnessed two men inside the Ahmadiyah mosque burning books was incorrect, he said. He added that the men were merely using a lighter in an attempt to read the books.

And Akbar’s earlier statement that he threw three rocks at the mosque, vandalized the interior and used a chair to break a window was also incorrect, he said.

“I only threw one rock and I didn’t see whether it hit anything. I also only overturned furniture. I stepped on the folding chair by accident and threw it away, I didn’t know where it went, it was dark.”

Akbar, who lives in Pasar Salasa village neighboring Cisalada, told the court that area youths had initially gathered that night for a routine Koran study group.

“But when I went outside, I saw that there were already a lot of them and they were moving toward Cisalada. So I joined them.”

Outside the court, Akbar said that he followed the group because he believed the Ahmadiyah were guilty of conducting religious activities. “They were not allowed to do that,” he said.

He added that aside from weekly visits to the court, his life went on normally. “The witnesses today were also my friends. We take [the visits to court] as a leisure activity.”

Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of the Setara Institute for Peace and Democracy, said the incident showed that intolerant teachings had influenced the nation’s youth.

“The young people now believe that they can do anything against groups labeled as deviant by their religious leaders,” Bonar said.

He called on the government to impose multiculturalism lessons alongside all religious classes.

“And even if the boys in the Cisalada case only get a light sentence, re-educating them on pluralism and diversity would be the most important thing.”

Copyright 2010 The Jakarta Globe
Source:  
www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/no-remorse-shown-in-ahmadi-
attack/423099
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