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Ahmadiyah followers promised safe return home
Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, West Lombok
West Lombok regency administration told more than 100 Jamaah Ahmadiyah members currently taking refuge in Mataram to return home, saying they did not have to worry about their safety.
The 33 families (126 people) have been taking shelter in Wisma Transito building after their homes in Ketapang village, Gegerung subdistrict, were attacked by angry residents in 2006.
West Lombok Regent Zaini Arony said the Ahmadiyah members did not have to worry about their safety and could go back home.
“But they should assimilate with other residents. They should no longer live exclusively within their own group,” Zaini told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
He said that the local administrations, from the regency to subdistrict levels, began dialogue with the families and also informed Ketapang residents of their return plan.
“They should not live exclusively as they did before as it is unfair on the other residents,” Zaini said.
He said that the administration had called on all residents to accept Ahmadiyah followers and let the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) decide whether they were right or wrong.
“As residents of West Lombok regency, they have the same rights to live securely in the region,” he said.
He added that based on a report from Gegerung subdistrict head, some Ahmadiyah followers had begun returning to their homes in Ketapang. However, Zaini admitted that the decision to send the refugees back home was made partly because it was impossible for the administration to compensate them for properties left in the village.
He said that the Ahmadiyah followers last year asked for Rp 700 million (US$77,700) in compensation for their 21 houses and land in Ketapang. They later increased their demand to Rp 1.5 billion, he added.
“We cannot meet their demand since the administration refers [compensation] to the NJOP,” he said, referring to the market value of the properties.
Separately, coordinators of the refugees, Syahidin, said that some Ahmadiyah members had visited their homes in Ketapang to find out the latest situation in the area.
“But we don’t have the courage to reside back there,” he said.
Ahmadiyah, whose members believe the last prophet was their founder, not the Prophet Muhammad, has been subject to several attacks across the country. [*]
The Indonesian Ulema Council first issued an edict in 1980 saying that Ahmadiyah was not Islamic, although the group, believed to number about 200,000 followers here, has been recognized as Islamic in Indonesia since 1953.