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Muslim sect settlements attacked in Indonesia
24 December 2007
JAKARTA — A group of masked men attacked the settlement of an Islamic sect on the main island of Java, damaging several homes and mosques, local media reports said Monday.
Early Sunday, a group of about 50 masked men attacked houses and places of worship belonging to Ahmadiyah members in West Java district of Majalengka, the state-run Antara news agency reported.
The Ahmadiyah sect believes that Mohammed was not the final prophet, contradicting a central tenet of mainstream Islam. The group has a few thousand members in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
During the 10-minute attack, the mob stoned the worship places and the homes, breaking windows and damaging doors of the prayer buildings, while the roof tiles and windows of the houses were shattered.
No casualties were reported in the attack, the latest violence against the Ahmadiyah sect members in recent days in Indonesia.
On December 18, at least 14 houses and two small mosques belonging to the were damaged when hundreds of people went on a rampage at a housing complex in the West Java district of Kuningan - adjacent to Majalengka. Four attackers were injured after members of the sect responded by pelting them with stones.
The Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI), the highest official authority on Islamic matters here, declared Ahmadiyah a “deviant” sect in 2005 and banned its activities, sparking an upturn in harassment of members.
However, Muslim ulemas and religious leaders were demanding the government intervene in what they claim was “unacceptable” violence and Vice President Jusuf Kalla has ordered that police get tough on the perpetrators of the attacks.
He explained that the MUI ruling could not be used as a justification for violent actions against its followers, adding that the “fatwa” (edict) had been issued by the MUI based on a religious truth, and that the council had not urged people to conduct acts of violence against the sect.
Attacks against Ahmadiyah have been reported in a number of Indonesian provinces. Around 200 members of Ahmadiyah were forced to temporary shelters on the island of Lombok, just east of Bali, after hardline Muslims attacked their homes and mosques early last year.