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Police moving to guard Ahmadiyah mosques, assets
Adianto P. Simamora and Dicky Christanto, Jakarta Post, Jakarta, Denpasar
Police have begun providing security at mosques and other assets belonging to Jamaah Ahmadiyah across the country to prevent renewed attacks on them by radical Muslims.
The move followed a recommendation on Wednesday by the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem) that the government ban the Islamic sect it called “heretic”.
Dozens of police were seen guarding the sect’s Mubarok Mosque near the Cikutra national heroes cemetery, Bandung, West Java, on Friday.
The mosque looked empty, although Arief Rahman, spokesman for Central Bandung’s Ahmadiyah, said its followers would continue their ritual activities as usual despite the recommendation.
In Bali, Ahmadiyah had to cancel a two-day national meeting scheduled to start Saturday at the request of the local police.
“We have decided to cancel the meeting because we have to abide by what the Bali police have said about the reasons behind the prohibition.
“Therefore, we will change our schedule from organizing a national meeting to an annual recreational event,” Ahmadiyah secretary general Achmad Supardi told The Jakarta Post in Denpasar on Friday.
Around 350 Ahmadiyah members from its 200 branches throughout the country were expected to attend the meeting aimed to design its annual programs.
Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Purwoko confirmed he asked Ahmadiyah members to cancel the meeting following the recommendation.
“If they insist on holding the meeting then we will disband it,” he said.
National Police spokesman Insp. Gen Abubakar Nataprawira said his office would safeguard followers and all assets of Ahmadiyah from possible attacks on them.
The police have issued an order for all their regional chiefs to ensure the safety of Ahmadiyah across the country, he said.
“It is the right of all citizens to be protected,” Abubakar said.
The government was preparing a joint decree to outlaw Ahmadiyah in response to the Bakor Pakem’s decision against the minority sect, which deviates from mainstream Islamic beliefs such as acknowledging Muhammad, not Mirza Gulam Ahmad, as the last prophet in Islam.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla said he was still studying the recommendation when asked if he supported a plan to ban Ahmadiyah.
“It only rules that Ahmadiyah teachings are not in line with the true Islam,” he said.
“But, it does not mean its followers must be arrested.”
Meanwhile, the Akar Djati Coalition, which comprises interreligious civil society groups in West Java, voiced its opposition against the recommendation.
The coalition, which is based in Cirebon, West Java, said the ban on Ahmadiyah means the government failed to protect and respect the rights of citizens, especially those from minority groups.
“The ban the Ahmadiyah violates the Constitution and laws that guarantee freedom of religion and the equal-before-the-law principle,” said coalition coordinator Maman Imanulhaq Faqieh, who is a Muslim cleric.
There are currently some 4,500 followers of Ahmadiyah in Manis Lor, Kuningan regency, West Java. Yuli Tri Suwarni from Bandung and Nana Rukmana from Cirebon contributed to this article.