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Ahmadiyah Congregation complex in Kuningan closed by authorities
Nana Rukmana, The Jakarta Post/Kuningan
The Kuningan regency administration, assisted by the local prosecutor’s office and the police, said it took the step based on a 1980 edict from the Indonesian Ulema Council that declared the teachings of Ahmadiyah forbidden, and as a precautionary move to prevent any violence aimed at Ahmadiyah members.
Kuningan Religious Affairs Office head Djainal Arifin said the authorities planned to close the complex since Dec. 20 last year, when a joint decree was issued by the regency administration, the prosecutor’s office and the Kuningan Police authorizing the move.
“But we wanted to wait for the right moment to prevent any negative reactions from local residents or the Ahmadiyah followers themselves,” said Djainal.
He said the complex was closed after an agreement was reached with leaders of the local Ahmadiyah branch, adding that the leaders understood the reason for the closure.
A number of Ahmadiyah’ facilities in the complex were sealed off, including the main mosque, seven smaller mosques, a meeting hall and a dormitory. Some 2,800 Ahmadis, as devotees are called, lived in the complex before the closure.
Djainal said his office had prepared a number of follow-up measures after closing the complex, including working with the Ahmadiyah followers to convince them to return to “true Islamic teachings”.
“We plan to forge a closer relationship with the followers in the short term, then follow that up by providing them guidance and counseling,” said Djainal.
As the authorities shuttered the mosques in the complex on Friday, a group of Ahmadis looked on, seemingly resigned to the loss of their complex. There were no clashes with authorities.
The operation was supervises by hundreds of security personnel, including 265 officers from the Kuningan Police and 70 members of the regency Civil Security Unit.
The deputy chairman of the Ahmadiyah branch in Kuningan regency, Yusup Akhmad, expressed his concern over the complex’s closure, which he said would interrupt the activities of followers.
“We are very sad over the closure,” said Yusup.
Kuningan Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Suharno said hundreds of police personnel would be posted at the complex to secure the area.
This was the latest in a series of closures of Ahmadiyah properties since the group was targeted on July 15 by hundreds of stone-throwing protesters in Pondok Udik subdistrict, Kemang district, Bogor. The attack left several buildings damaged, including a women’s dormitory that was set on fire.
Set up in Pakistan in the 19th century by Gulam Ahmad Khan, it is estimated that Ahmadiyah has some 200,000 followers in Indonesia. The attackers in Bogor said Ahmadiyah was not a Muslim group because it taught that Prophet Muhammad was not the last prophet.