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City closes Ahmadi mosque, denies religious prejudice
Andreas D. Arditya, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Jakarta administration denies any religious predilection in sealing off an Ahmadiyah mosque in East Jakarta this week.
Jakarta Deputy Governor Prijanto said that mosque was shut down because it violated a building permit.
Prijanto did not consider that the Ahmadis had unsuccessfully proposed to the local administration to convert the building permit from a private residence to a public building.
The Ahmadis had held religious services there for 21 years.
“Our local official sealed the building off after sending warning letters,” Prijanto told reporters at City Hall on Friday.
On Thursday, officials from the East Jakarta Building Supervisory Agency (P2B) and the City Public Order closed down At-Taqwa mosque after claiming that the owners of the premises had misused the building permit issued for the premises.
Prijanto said that issues regarding the Islamic sect had been decided by the central government through a ministerial decree.
The head of the East Jakarta branch of the Ahmadiyah, Aryudi Muhammad Shadiq, said the management of the mosque was fully aware of the building violation.
Aryudi said that they had been proposing to the local administration to convert the building permit from that for a private residence to one for a public building, but to no avail.
He questioned the city administration’s decision to seal off the mosque after allowing it to remain open for the past 21 years.
Following the closing of the mosque, a local Islam Defenders Front (FPI) branch said that they would monitor the sect’s activity and report to the city administration should the sect continue performing their religious services there.
Separately on Friday, Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Untung Suharsono Radjab held a meeting with a number of mass organizations, including those notorious for their violent behavior, in Central Jakarta.
Untung said that the meeting was to seek input from the organizations regarding security issues in the capital. The police chief warned that members of any organization who resorted to violence and violated the law would be penalized. “We will process them according to the law.”
Three years ago, the central government issued a joint ministerial decree banning members of the Ahmadiyah Indonesia Congregation (JAI) from propagating their religious beliefs, but allowed them to maintain their faith and perform their daily religious duties.
The decree was followed by a number of regional administrations issuing bans to prevent members of the Ahmadiyah sect from practicing their faith in public.
Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo also planned to issue a similar ban, but backtracked after realizing that such bylaws were illegal.
The Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Ministry said that the local administration could not issue ordinances that went against the Constitution, which guaranteed the freedom of faith and worship.