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Govt urged to address refugees
Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Mataram
Ahmadiyah members living at the Wisma Transito shelter in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, remain indifferent to the provincial administration’s plan to ban the movement, brushing it off as just a ploy to complicate the refugee issue.
Provincial Ahmadiyah head M. Jauzi Djafar told The Jakarta Post on Friday that as Indonesian citizens, Ahmadiyah members would abide by the country’s laws.
But he added the ban would not resolve the Ahmadiyah refugee issue, now dragging on into its fourth year.
“The governor and provincial administration say they’re studying the ban. That’s OK by us, but they should also think about the core of the refugee issue,” he said.
“We perceive the administration only wishes to avoid or take no responsibility for the issue.”
Jauzi added the provincial administration should have responded realistically and made strenuous efforts to resolve the issue, rather than “rashly” issue the ban, with many problems still left unresolved.
The refugees, he added, had been holed up at the shelter for three years, yet legal action had never been taken against those who had destroyed their homes in Ketapang and Praya.
“The government has the authority to ban Ahmadiyah, but what about the rights of the refugees? Has it paid attention to that?” Jauzi said.
He added the commotion raised by the local and national media about the ban on the Ahmadiyah had instead raised confusion and anxiety among Ahmadis staying at Wisma Transito in Mataram and the former Praya hospital in Central Lombok.
The Ahmadis have so far heeded the joint ministerial ban against spreading their activities, and have also refrained from fully interacting with local communities, mostly due to their status as refugees.
“Yes, you may say we cannot yet socialize with local residents because of our status as refugees. Furthermore, most of us are farmers, while the local residents are mostly civil servants and officials. How would we socialize?” Jauzi said.
He also said a provincial ban on Ahmadiyah would make the refugee issue even more complicated.
“The government has issued a joint ministerial decree on Ahmadiyah? Why doesn’t the provincial administration just try to implement it well? The decree has failed to address the issue, let alone a ban from the provincial administration,” he said.
When asked for confirmation on the ban, provincial spokesman Andy Hadiyanto said the proposed ban was still being studied.
“The proposal is still being deliberated. It is included in the joint decree and is not a new matter. The administration is just emphasizing it,” he said.
He added the basis of the ban was very strong because the provincial administration was implementing the 1945 State Constitution and Criminal Code in order to prevent religious blasphemy.
While deliberating the ban, the provincial religious affairs office and other agencies will monitor the activities of the Ahmadiyah for a month, the results of which will be discussed to support the proposed ban.
As many as 126 Ahmadis from 33 families still live at the Wisma Transito shelter, since being driven from their homes in Ketapang hamlet, Gegerung village in Lingsar district, West Lombok, in February 2006.