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Calm restored in Ahmadiyah village amid heavy security
Nana Rukmana, THE JAKARTA POST, KUNINGAN, WEST JAVA
Calm has returned to a West Java village following violent clashes between villagers and Muslim hardliners with villagers resuming their daily activities.
However, there remains a heavy security presence with hundreds of police personnel patrolling the area, notably at the main entrance to the village, with trucks forming a barricade.
Ahmadiyah sect official Nurahim in Manis Lor village said the situation was returning to normal due to the heavy police presence.
Manis Lor, located 40 kilometers south of Cirebon city in West Java, is home to the largest Ahmadiyah community in the country with 3,000 of the 4,350 villagers following the faith.
Nurahim said Ahmadiyah officials were in talks with authorities and the Kuningan regency administration to address the recent attack on followers by hundreds of members of a number of hard-line Muslim organizations.
The attackers demanded Ahmadiyah followers cease all religious activities, saying the faith deviated from Islamic teaching.
“We are hopeful that peace will soon be restored,” Nurahim said.
The clash followed a failed attempt by the Public Order Agency to seal off a mosque belonging to the Ahmadiyah after facing resistance from the followers.
GP Ansor, the youth wing of Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, announced it was ready to deploy thousands of members to protect Ahmadiyah followers.
The head of the Cirebon branch of GP Ansor, Nuruzzaman, said they had discussed the issue with the group’s Kuningan branch.
“Providing protection for citizens, including Ahmadiyah followers, is principally the domain of the government’s security institutions, in this case, the police. However, if needed, we are ready to help provide security. We can mobilize 20,000 members within a short time,” he said.
GP Ansor urged the central government to take serious measures to protect Ahmadiyah followers from violence, intimidation and vandalism of their places of worship. “We urge the government to act immediately against the violence perpetrated against Ahmadiyah followers.”
Nahdlatul Ulama, the country’s largest Muslim organization, is known for its moderate stance.
“The government must be consistent in its implementation of the Constitution, stipulating that every citizen of any official creed is guaranteed the right to conduct their religious practice according to their faith,” Nuruzzaman said.
Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali on Friday called Ahmadiyah apostate to Islamic teaching and urged them to halt propagating their beliefs, although he warned the public against resorting to violence in dealing with the issue.