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Indonesia sect mulls legal action against decree
Updated Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:23pm AEST
A minority Islamic group at the heart of a sectarian furore in Indonesia says it does not recognise a ministerial decree ordering it to stop its activities.
A joint ministerial decree, issued on Monday, ordered the sect to “stop spreading interpretations and activities which deviate from the principal teachings of Islam” or face five years’ jail.
The Ahmadiyah community has urged followers to pray, stay calm and obey “existing laws” while it prepares its legal response.
“We regret the issuance of the joint ministerial decree because (this type of decree) does not exist within our reformed constitutional system,” the Indonesian Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI) said in a statement.
It says that under the decree Ahmadiyah is “not frozen, banned or disbanded.”
Hardliners had demanded the government outlaw the sect which contravenes orthodox Muslim teachings by believing Mohammed was not the final prophet.
But moderates say the decree contravenes the constitutional right to freedom of religion and urges Ahmadiyah to challenge the restrictions in court.
Ahmadiyah leaders have told a press conference the sect has about 500,000 followers in the country of 234 million people, with 330 branches across the archipelago.