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Ahmadiyah mosque vandalized in Southeast Sulawesi
Hasrul, The Jakarta Post, Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi
The chairman of a local Ahmadiya group says dozens of unidentified people have vandalized the Nur Rabwah mosque belonging to Ahmadiyah followers at Ranowila village, Konda district in the South Sulawesi regency of South Konawe.
The chairman, Samilin, said the Saturday night attack had broken glass and damaged the rostrum, carpets and loudspeakers. No injuries were reported.
The incident happened suddenly while Ahmadiyah followers were commemorating the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday, he said, adding that the Ahmadiyah followers run away in fright. “At the time of the attack I was still preaching,” he said.
Samilin said he immediately asked his followers, who are mostly housewives and children, to go home.
“I don’t know who the attackers were because it was dark,” he said.
No condemnation against Ahmadiyah was heard during the attack. The attackers fled afterward, Samilin said.
Police officers arrived at the site two hours later and found no one there.
Kendari police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Aditya said his officers were still investigating the attack and searching for the perpetrators. He said he did not know the attackers’ motives.
Up to 200 police officers have been deployed to safeguard the mosque and protect Ahmadiyah followers, Aditya said.
Local residents flocked to the mosque Sunday evening to look at the damage.
Samilin said that there were at least 600 Ahmadiyah followers at Ranowila village.
He explained that since its establishment in 1995, the Ahmadiyah followers had gotten along well with their neighbors. “We live peacefully with our neighbors, so why were we attacked?” he asked.
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, since followers of Ahmadiyah view their founder, Mirza Gulam Ahmad, as a prophet. Islamic teachings hold that Muhammad is the last prophet.
Ahmadiyah has some 200,000 followers, and was first established in Indonesia in 1925.
The Indonesian Ulema Council has issued a fatwa that forbids Ahmadiyah teaching. A series of attacks against Ahmadiyah followers has taken place across the country over the last few months due to this fatwa.