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Seven more named suspects in Cianjur attack
Yuli Tri Suwarni, The Jakarta Post, Bandung
West Java Police named on Wednesday seven more people as suspects in an attack on properties owned by a controversial Muslim sect in Cianjur, West Java, on Monday night. A total of 12 people have now been named as suspects in the attack.
Cianjur Police deputy chief Comr. Rudi Marfianto said the seven suspects lived near the Ahmadiyah sect in Cianjur regency.
“All 12 of the suspects, including the seven (named on Wednesday), are charged with violating Article 170 of the Criminal Code on assault, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison,” said Marfianto.
The 12 suspects are thought to be among the hundreds of people who attacked mosques, houses and cars belonging to the Ahmadiyah sect in Campaka district, some 120 kilometers southeast of Jakarta. It was reported that the mob, mostly local residents and students at a local Muslim boarding school, vandalized four mosques, 33 houses, four elementary schools and three cars.
West Java Police arrested 48 people immediately after the attack, but after questioning only named 12 suspects.
The West Java chapter of the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI) strongly condemned the attack. Abdul Wahab, an executive at the JAI, also asked why Ahmadiyah members were under attack now although the group has been in the country since 1953.
A religious leader in West Java shared Wahab’s concern. Religious leader Sofyan Yahya called on all Muslims to maintain restraint and remain coolheaded. Sofyan, the chairman of the West Java chapter of Nadhlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Islamic group, said taking the law into one’s own hands was counterproductive and would only tarnish the image of Islam.
Another religious leader, Hafids Utsman, the head of the West Java chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), also called on people not to resort to violence to resolve their disputes. He urged the public to let the government and the police deal with problems stemming from differences of faith.
The attack on Monday was the latest against Ahmadiyah, which was recently branded as heretical by the MUI, the highest authority on Islam in the country. Members of Ahmadiyah, unlike mainstream Muslims, believe that the last prophet was not the Prophet Muhammad but Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who founded the sect in the 19th century in what is now Pakistan. Ahmadiyah property was attacked in July in Parung, Bogor, West Java. No arrests have been made in connection with this earlier attack.
While Indonesian Muslims generally follow a tolerant version of the faith, some hard-line Muslim groups have been making inroads in the country.