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July 13, 2010
Hostility in Bogor Puts End to Ahmadiyah Plans
In the latest attack on the rights of minority religions, hundreds of public order officers in Bogor on Monday demolished the foundations for a planned mosque for worshippers from the Ahmadiyah sect.
“We had to dismantle the foundations, which were steel pillars, and the base framework, because the mosque had been rejected by local residents,” Adj. Comr. Roni Mardiatun, police chief for Ciampea subdistrict, told the Jakarta Globe.
According to Roni, residents had objected to the plan to build the mosque in Cisaladah village, claiming it violated a 2006 decree by both the ministries of religious affairs and home affairs on the establishment of houses of worship, which require the approval of local residents before they can be built.
The Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), the country’s highest authority on Islamic affairs, has labeled Ahmadiyah a deviant version of Islam and called for it to be banned.
The government has stopped short of banning the group, but has forbidden it from conducting its rites publicly. Ahmadiyah members recognize their sect’s founder as a prophet, which contradicts a tenet of mainstream Islam that sees Muhammad as the last prophet.
“The local residents think that the mosque will be made into a place to spread Ahmadiyah, and besides, the mosque doesn’t have a permit from the local administration,” Roni said.
The building’s foundation had already been built on the 500-square-meter property in preparation for a two-story mosque, he added.
About 400 police officers stood guard in front of a nearby existing Ahmadiyah mosque. Residents and police scuffled earlier on Monday because residents also wanted the smaller mosque pulled down.
Roni said 50 more police officers were dispatched after the foundations had been demolished in order to secure the area.
The head of the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in Bogor, Dace Supriadi, said his officers removed the foundations following a decision by the Ciampea Council of Leaders, which included the heads of the local administration, police and military.
“The Ahmadiyah mosque was still just some pillars and a foundation. We had to dismantle it before the building could be built,” he added.
Cisaladah village elder H Deden argued that Ahmadiyah’s activities in the area had been banned under a 2007 decree from the subdistrict administration.
“The decree states that no activities on behalf of Ahmadiyah should be allowed in the region. Apparently they ignored the decree,” he said.
Deden also said villagers wanted the existing Ahmadiyah mosque torn down.
“The residents’ demands cannot be negotiated and must be carried out,” he added.
According to Deden, 40 local community leaders had sent the Bogor administration an ultimatum to destroy the mosque within two weeks. “If not, we fear residents could run amok,” he added.