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Minority Mosques in Indonesia Attacked By Mob
In Indonesia, hard-line Muslims have attacked houses and mosques belonging to a sect they accuse of heresy, damaging over 70 buildings. This is the latest in a series of attacks on the group, which has been denounced by the country’s main Muslim council.
On Tuesday morning more than 1,000 people armed with swords and sharpened bamboo stakes rampaged through a neighborhood of Sukadana village in West Java, an area largely populated by followers of the Ahmadiyah movement, an Islamic sect that orthodox Muslims say is heretical.
No one was injured by the mob, but 70 houses and six mosques were badly damaged. The police arrested five of the attackers.
Sidney Jones is the regional head of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group and an expert on Islamic militancy in Indonesia.
“I don’t think it’s enough just to make a few arrests after the fact, although that is better than no arrests at all,” said Jones. “I think the government’s got to take a much more proactive stance.”
Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, says it is doing its best to protect the country’s substantial religious minorities, but that resources are stretched.
The government allows the approximately 200,000 Ahmadiyah followers in the country to practice their beliefs, but bans them from proselytizing.
Indonesia has a history of religious tolerance, but there is concern this may be under threat.
In July, an influential group of Indonesian Muslim scholars issued a religious edict ruling that liberal interpretations of Islam, secularism and pluralism were un-Islamic, a move critics say has increased intolerance.