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Home Worldwide Indonesia Komnas HAM condemns …
Komnas HAM condemns Ahmadiyah attack

Headline News July 23, 2005 

Komnas HAM condemns Ahmadiyah attack

Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post/Bogor

A member of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said on Friday that looking at the preliminary evidence, last week’s attack on the Ahmadiyah complex in Parung, Bogor, was a rights violation.

M. Billah said on Friday that everybody had the right to practice the religion of their choosing and to pray in accordance with their convictions.

“We see that people were injured and buildings destroyed in this attack. We will investigate who was responsible for the attack and who was behind the violence,” he said during a tour of the Ahmadiyah complex in Parung.

Last week’s attack involved thousands of people from the group Indonesian Muslim Solidarity, who vandalized Ahmadiyah’s compound and set on fire a women’s dormitory.

Billah was accompanied on Friday by Lies Soegondo, the head of the subcommision on civil rights at the commission, and three staff members.

He said they were there to examine the condition of the Ahmadiyah complex after the attack.

“We came here to investigate after Ahmadiyah members reported that their rights had been violated. We will meet with all parties involved, including the police, public order officers and the victims,” Billah said.

Bogor Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Agus Sutisna said police had questioned 10 people from Ahmadiyah as witnesses.

“If none of the attackers have been identified it is because there were so many people involved in the siege. It was a mass of people, so it was difficult to control,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the government would not be hasty to ban Ahmadiyah, but would first order a comprehensive study to determine whether the religion posed a danger for society.

“The 1945 Constitution allows people to choose their religion and belief. If a religion contains positive teachings, why should we ban it?” Kalla said after Friday prayers.

“But if it contains negative aspects, such as calling other religions harmful, then there is a reason to ban it. A religion should teach followers to tolerate and respect other religions and beliefs,” he said.

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