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Ahmadiyah followers urged MUI to scrap edicts
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Ahmadiyah followers outside the office of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Central Jakarta on Thursday demanded the Islamic body annul its edicts branding them as heretics.
Amidst jeers and taunts from visitors of Istiqlal Mosque, sect followers and a number of Nahdlatul Ulama clerics from Surabaya, East Java, and Majalengka, West Java, said they were open to a dialogue with MUI to resolve the matter.
“The edicts classifying Ahmadiyah as a non-Muslim organization have no basis, not even in the Koran. Thus I hope MUI will reconsider and even withdraw them,” Ahmadiyah spokesman Shamsir Ali said.
“Our activities are the same as those of other Muslims in this country. We read the same Koran and do the same five daily prayers as other Muslims. How can the council say our Koran is different?” he said, adding that Ahmadiyah had translated the Koran into about 100 languages, including Chinese, Spanish, German and Japanese.
“Ahmadiyah members come from different backgrounds and professions. Some of them are employees in state companies members of the House of Representatives and the Attorney General’s Office.”
MUI officials refused to meet with the group.
“They haven’t made any appointment with us,” said MUI member Amirsyah Tambunan.
“The council issued the edicts based on our research and observations, including of the Koran,” he said.
In 1980, MUI issued edicts stating Ahmadiyah was a non-Muslim organization and its followers were infidels. The council reissued those edicts in 2005.
Ahmadiyah, whose membership in Indonesia has grown to about 500,000, has recently come under intense pressure to disband.
Attacks have been made on their worship places and residential compounds by hard-line Muslim groups that object to their activities.
The situation worsened after the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem) issued a recommendation last month to ban Ahmadiyah. The government has yet to act on that recommendation.
“We’re fine. We’re used to such abuse. We just hope the government will never issue the decree to outlaw Ahmadiyah,” Shamsir said.
Former justice minister Yusril Ihza Mahendra said he agreed with MUI’s edicts on Ahmadiyah.
“The Indonesian government should follow the example of the Pakistani government that declared Ahmadiyah a non-Muslim organization. However, its followers must still have their rights as citizens,” Yusril, a constitutional law professor, was quoted as saying by Antara.
He said Ahmadiyah followers could not claim themselves as Muslims once the government had made such a ruling.
“They should not also use Islamic terms, for example. They should use some other word,” Yusril said. (trw)