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Ahmadi women and children in Indonesia face abuse - watchdog
Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:55pm IST
JAKARTA (Reuters) — Indonesian women and children who follow Ahmadiyya, an Islamic sect that has come under attack from hardline Muslims, have faced discrimination and human rights abuses for many years, a Jakarta-based watchdog said on Thursday.
The National Commission on Violence against Women urged the government to revoke a ministerial decree issued on Monday, under which the Ahmadis are forbidden from preaching or converting others, saying this would only encourage more abuses.
“There is no government effort to prevent discrimination against Ahmadis’ children,” Kamala Candrakirana, who heads the commission, told a press conference.
She said Ahmadi children tend to be stigmatised at school, where some teachers highlight their faith in their school report cards.
The commission, which compiled material from 2000, from Sukabumi district in West Java and from Lombok island, also found that several Ahmadi women had given birth prematurely after their houses had been attacked by militant groups, and that Ahmadis were often prevented from marrying other Muslims.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla told Reuters this week the government would not ban Ahmadiyya, ending months of speculation over the fate of the sect.
A government team tasked with monitoring religious groups had previously recommended that Ahmadiyya should be banned as the sect’s teachings deviate from fundamental Islamic tenets.
The Ahmadis refuse to accept the Prophet Mohammad as Islam’s final prophet, and say their founder is a prophet and messiah.
The group has been a subject of heated controversy after Indonesia’s Ulema Council, the country’s Islamic authority, branded the group “deviant”.
Indonesia has a population of 226 million, of which about 85 percent are Muslim. Most of them are moderate, and the constitution grants freedom of faith.