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Home Worldwide Indonesia April, 2008 Ahmadiyah members …
Ahmadiyah members in danger: Rights group

Headline News April 15, 2008 

Ahmadiyah members in danger: Rights group

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Activists and intellectuals on Monday raised concerns about the safety of members of the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect after a videotape surfaced of an Islamic preacher urging followers to kill sect members.

Leaders of the National Alliance for the Freedom of Faith and Religion (AKKBB) urged the government not to outlaw Ahmadiyah and to provide its thousands of followers the necessary protection.

“Such a decision (to ban the group) will cause Ahmadiyah members to fall prey to certain groups known for their tendency to resort to violence,” said Usman Hamid, head of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras).

An April 25 deadline set by the Attorney General’s Office for Ahmadiyah to prove its teachings do not conflict with mainstream Islamic thought is approaching.

Banners have been spotted around Jakarta calling for a demonstration against Ahmadiyah this Sunday.

The alliance for religious freedom said Ahmadiyah followers have received death threats from hard-line groups.

“The country is supposed to protect its citizens. We are not against Islam, but we don’t want any decision which may cause harm to anyone,” Usman said.

A videotape screened by the alliance on Monday showed Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) secretary-general Sobri Lubis urging followers to kill Ahmadiyah members.

“We will wage war against Ahmadiyah! Kill Ahmadiyah! Kill! Kill! Kill!” Sobri says to applause from those in attendance at his sermon.

“And if they say we are violating human rights, then I say damn human rights.”

The alliance suggested the government’s plan to ban Ahmadiyah was a result of pressure from certain groups, including the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

The MUI declared Ahmadiyah heretical in 2005, but members of Ahmadiyah have continued to practice their beliefs. Unlike mainstream Islam, Ahmadiyah members believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the last prophet, not Muhammad.

Leaders of the FPI, the Islamic Ulema Forum (FUI) and the Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) have denounced Ahmadiyah and criticized the government for allowing the sect to exist.

In response to the threats against Ahmadiyah followers, the alliance plans to sue the anti-Ahmadiyah groups for inciting violence and murder.

“This is not just a simple matter of public speech anymore, they have told their listeners to commit murder,” the alliance’s legal counsel, Asfinawati, said.

Syafi’i Anwar, head of the International Center for Islam and Pluralism, said should the government ban Ahmadiyah, it would cost it credibility as a country that respects human rights and pluralism.

“The state should not bow down to a posse. This is a country that upholds the rule of law, not a country that favors certain groups or certain faiths,” Syafi’i said. (anw)

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