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Govt told to take action against culprits in Ahmadiyah’s attack
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The government has been called upon to take action against those responsible for Saturday’s attack on houses owned by members of the Jamaah Ahmadiyah congregation in West Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara.
Former president Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid told the government to arrest the attackers because it should uphold the 1945 Constitution guaranteeing citizens’ rights, including freedom of religion.
“The problem is the government is afraid. It doesn’t have the courage to uphold the Constitution. How can we be a great (nation) without upholding the Constitution?” he told Antara on the sidelines of a seminar in Jakarta on Sunday.
He added that the government did not educate people on how to face differences, including those between different faiths.
The country’s second largest Muslim organization, Muhammadiyah, condemned the attack and called for the government to take firm legal action against the perpetrators.
“It (the attack) was an un-Islamic act. No religion justifies violence as a means to resolve differences in faiths,” Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
On Saturday, a mob attacked and set fire to dozens of houses owned by Ahmadiyah members in Segerongan village, Lingsar district.
Hundreds of police officers were deployed to the area to prevent the violence from spreading.
Following the attack, 125 members of Ahmadiyah were taken to a shelter in Transito Majeluk, Mataram. Several of them, according to detik.com, had threatened to seek asylum in Australia and Canada.
Ahmadiyah’s advisor, Syamsir Ali, said he “regretted” the incident, which took place in front of police officers. “We live in a country where every criminal should be arrested and put on trial, but none of the attackers here were arrested,” he told Antara while visiting Ahmadiyah members in Mataram on Sunday.
He said the incident had been reported to the Human Rights Commission. “Residents living in Transito seem to be neglected as there is no water in the shelter and food is very limited,” he said.
A religious figure in Lombok, Hazmi Hamzar, said Sunday the presence of Ahmadiyah would not be tolerated by Muslims because their teachings went against Islam.
“We call on Ahmadiyah to immediately decide whether they want to return to real Islamic teachings, or if they don’t, maybe just call Ahmadiyah a religion so it will not disrupt Muslims here,” he was quoted by Antara.
The Indonesian Ulema Council has issued an edict declaring the teachings of Ahmadiyah forbidden as they are considered heretical.
Ahmadiyah was set up in Pakistan in the 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The organization has been in Indonesia since 1926 and was formally recognized in 1953. It is estimated that there are 200,000 followers of Ahmadiyah in Indonesia.
The controversy hinges on Ahmadiyah’s belief that the last prophet was not Muhammad as mainstream Muslims believe, but Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.