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Ahmadiyah prepares legal action against MUI
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta/Bandung/Yogyakarta
With the support of noted Muslim scholars, the Ahmadiyah religious group is determined to sue the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) over last week’s attack on its compound in Parung, Bogor, West Java.
The attackers, from the so-called Indonesian Muslim Solidarity group, have publicly admitted that they were motivated by a controversial fatwa issued in 1980 by the MUI, which declared the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI) to be a deviant Islamic group because it does not recognize Muhammad as the last prophet.
JAI chairman Abdul Basit went to the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) on Monday to report Friday’s attack on the Ahmadiyah compound and to ask it to help prepare legal measures against the MUI and the attackers.
Basit was accompanied by Muslim scholar Dawam Rahardjo who represents the People’s Alliance for Freedom to Implement Religions.
Dawam said alliance members, including Azyumardi Azra, Salahuddin Wahid, Ulil Absar Abdalla and other noted Muslim scholars, all gave their backing to the legal action.
Basit said his group was demanding that the MUI annul its fatwa widely blamed for inciting the violence against Ahmadiyah members.
Apart from that, JAI also wanted the attackers to face justice in order to prevent more attacks on its members, currently numbering some 200,000 across Indonesia.
The MUI should not have issued such a fatwa “because everyone has the right to choose his/her own beliefs and to live without fear in the country“, he argued.
“With the latest violence inside our compound, I think the attackers have considered themselves to be judges over others. They could even dictate to security personnel (police) to follow their own laws, leaving us with little hope that the case can be resolved.
“If the violence, intimidation and terrorism continue against Muslims, how can this country protect its minority groups?” Basit asked.
In Yogyakarta, MUI secretary-general Din Syamsuddin reiterated on Monday that any tenet that recognizes any other prophet after Muhammad goes against Islam.
“Our stance is clear, and I hope JAI will change its beliefs about the Prophet Muhammad,” said Din, who also chairs the country’s second largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah.
Separately on Monday, Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh said his office was examining the teachings of Ahmadiyah to determine whether they are against Islam or not.
Dawam, who was a cofounder of the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (ICMI), said that all Muslims and security authorities should not allow such violence to recur.
“We should not let this happen again. The attack has damaged the relationships among Muslims, other religious worshipers and other citizens,” he said.
Friday’s attack involved some 10,000 people grouped as the Indonesian Muslim Solidarity group that vandalized and stoned JAI’s compound buildings as well as setting fire to the women’s dormitory.
However, not one of the attackers were detained by police, even though the violence sparked fears of possible attacks against other Ahmadiyah members in other parts of Indonesia.
In the West Java capital of Bandung, more than 1,000 Ahmadiyah followers sought police protection to secure their two mosques in the Cikutra and Bojongloa areas.
They have also reduced their ritual activities at the mosques. “We are worried about possible violence against us, and as citizens, we have the right to seek protection from the security apparatus,” said local Ahmadiyah member Mansyur Ahmad.
The attack was condemned by Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Muslim leaders, including those from Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). They said faith differences should not be resolved with violence.
Ahmadiyah was established in Pakistan [India] in the 19th century by Mirza Gulam Ahmad, though it did not take root in Indonesia until the 1980s.