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Govt mulls ban on Ahmadiyah due to ‘permit violation’
Muninggar Sri Saraswati, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The government is considering a ban against Ahmadiyah as an organization in the country, saying it has sparked public disorder.
Attorney General Abdul Rachman Saleh said on Wednesday Ahmadiyah had violated its founding permit that prohibits it from spreading its teaching for fear of triggering disorder among Indonesian Muslims.
“Our main concern is public order. We don’t care about the content,” he said.
If the ban materializes, Ahmadiyah will join the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) as an outlawed organization. The PKI and Marxism-Leninism were banned in 1966 following an abortive coup attempt blamed on the party, then among the largest four in the country.
The Attorney General’s Office has the authority to ban, among others, organizations, teachings and books considered to be disruptive to public order.
Abdul Rachman said he would consult with Minister of Religious Affairs M. Maftuh Basyuni before announcing a ban against Ahmadiyah.
Last week, some 10,000 members of the “Indonesian Muslim Solidarity” attacked Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI) buildings in Bogor, West Java for allegedly spreading its teaching. Police have not arrested anyone in relation to the violent attack.
The violence has sparked fears of possible attacks on other Ahmadiyah members across the country. Ahmadiyah has some 200,000 followers, and was first established in Indonesia in 1925.
Muslim leaders, including from mainstream organizations such as Muhammadiyah and Nahdlatul Ulama, have condemned the attack. They have said differences in faith should not be resolved through violence.
The government recognized Ahmadiyah as a corporate body in 1953. But in 1984 the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a circular to its regional offices to consider Ahmadiyah teachings as heresy, as it recognizes its founder Mirza Gulam Ahmad as a prophet. Muslims believe Muhammad is the last prophet.
The Indonesian Ulema Council has issued a fatwa that forbids Ahmadiyah teaching after studying nine books on the matter. However, JAI says it does not recognize the books.
In Yogyakarta, an Ahmadiyah preacher Ahmad Ma’sum Kanz denied allegations that its teachings were heresy.
He told Antara that Ahmadiyah followers believe in the Koran, Hadith and Prophet Muhammad’s teachings like other Muslims.
“We share what Muslims across the world believe and practice. What makes us different is that we believe that God’s revelation has not ended and can be transferred to ordinary people like Mirza Gulam Ahmad,” he said.