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Home Worldwide Indonesia April, 2008 Ulemas show …
Ulemas show support for Ahmadiyah’s govt lawsuit

Archipelago April 22, 2008 

Ulemas show support for Ahmadiyah’s govt lawsuit

Nana Rukmana, The Jakarta Post, Cirebon

Ulemas of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization have given support to members of the “deviant” Islamic sect Jamaah Ahmadiyah to file a lawsuit against the government for its plan to outlaw the sect.

The ulemas of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) chapter in Cirebon, West Java, also urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on Monday to reconsider his recommendation for the ban, saying such a move would contradict the 1945 Constitution.

The Cirebon ulemas decided at a get-together to help protect Ahmadiyah members from any form of attacks. The meeting was held at the residence of Habib Syarief Utsman Yahya, a noted local ulema.

Following a recommendation from the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem), the government is currently preparing a joint decree to outlaw Ahmadiyah, which recognizes Mirza Gulam Ahmad, not Muhammad, as the last prophet.

Syarief said the protection of Ahmadiyah members would be seen to by thousands of members of the NU youth wing organization.

Efforts would be concentrated mainly on the residential complexes of Ahmadiyah members in a number of areas, including Manis Lor village at Jalaksana, Kuningan, and Sedasari village in Argapura, Majalengka, he said.

“Principally the protection and safeguarding of the country’s citizens, including Ahmadiyah members, is in the hands of the police. But we are ready to help them anytime,” said Syarief.

“We are able to deploy at least 20,000 youths.”

Monday’s meeting was attended by ulemas from a number of influential Muslim boarding houses locally known as Pondok Pesantren, including Pondok Pesantren Babakan Ciwaringin, Pondok Pesantren Gedongan, Pondok Pesantren Kaliwadas and Pondok Pesantren Kempek.

Syarief further said the opposition to the ban on Ahmadiyah constituted the main stance among NU ulemas. “The government’s stance cannot be justified as it clearly violates the freedom of religion and belief guaranteed under the Constitution.”

“Ahmadiyah members have the same rights before the law. If they want to file a lawsuit against the government, we will fully support them,” Syarief said.

He also reminded the President not to be in a hurry to make a decision on the ban against Ahmadiyah. “Consider … whether it is constitutional or not. If his decision violates the 1945 Constitution, he can face impeachment,” he said.

The ulemas also urged the President to reconsider the establishment of Bakor Pakem as they were of the opinion the agency had sparked problems in the community.

“What is the use of Bakor Pakem? Is its existence in line with the 1945 Constitution? Is it beneficial to the community? It should be reevaluated,” Syarief said.

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