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Tough action called for after attack on Ahmadis
Bagus BT Saragih, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Rights bodies are demanding authorities take stern measures against the perpetrators of an attack on members of the Ahmadiyah faith, while President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for an evaluation of the joint ministerial decree on the Ahmadiyah.
Three Ahmadis were killed and five seriously injured, police said.
Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Djoko Suyanto said after meeting with related ministers that a thorough investigation would take place next week with Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali as supervisor.
“The evaluation is necessary as it relates to one’s faith and belief so that it is not against the existing regulation,” Djoko said as quoted by Antara.
Human rights NGO Imparsial condemned what it called the government’s failure to guarantee the protection of Ahmadiyah followers in Cikeusik, Pandeglang, Banten, who were attacked by locals Sunday.
“The police must act quickly because Ahmadiyah followers are no different from other citizens whose rights are protected by the Constitution,” Imparsial program director Al Araf said in a statement.
“Once again, the police, as a state apparatus, failed to guarantee religious freedom by protecting the Ahmadis from violence. In fact, the police seemed to turn a blind eye instead of strictly enforcing the law by arresting the attackers,” Al Araf said.
Imparsial urged the Banten Police chief to immediately order an investigation and arrest the attackers.
Hard-line Muslim groups claim Ahmadiyah deviated from orthodox Islamic doctrine, and have labeled the faith heretical. Ahmadis have faced relentless persecution.
The Wahid Institute blamed the frequent violence against Ahmadiyah on Yudhoyono.
“Violence against Ahmadis is an almost daily occurrence, yet the President does nothing to address this,” Wahid Institute’s Rumadi said.
The SETARA Institute urged the National Police chief Gen. Timur Pradopo to summon the Pandeglang Police chief over his failure to ensure the safety of religious minorities.
It also demanded Suryadharma be fired for failing to guarantee religious freedom.
The incident began when Ahmadis gathered at the home of local Ahmadiyah leader Parman at Cikeusik on Saturday. Residents expressed annoyance at the gathering and demanded the Ahmadis disperse. The Ahmadis refuse, prompting clashes.
Initial reports put the death toll at six, but Pandeglang Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Alex Fauzy Rasyad confirmed three deaths, identifying the dead as Roni, Mulyadi and Tarno. The latter two were Parman’s sons.
“I guarantee the situation at the scene is under control,” he said.
The Banten branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) blamed the clash on authorities.
“Four months ago we made the request in fear that [the Ahmadis’ presence] could trigger clashes.
There was no actions until this incident took place,” the MUI’s Wahaf Afif said.