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No Respite for Lombok’s Ahmadiyah Community
Fitri | September 05, 2010
Jakarta. After having spent five consecutive Ramadans in a shelter and in light of the renewed comments by officials seeking the disbanding of their sect, Ahmadiyah members in Lombok say they can only resign themselves to whatever the future will bring.
Since having been forced to leave their village, West Lingsar, in West Lombok district, in February 2006, at least 22 Ahmadiyah families have been staying at the Transito shelter in Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province.
Founded in India in 1889, Ahmadiyah holds that the group’s founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the last prophet — a belief that contradicts a tenet of Islam that reserves that position for the Prophet Muhammad.
The rooms where the 133 people are staying are only separated by curtains.
To make matters worse, the government has now halted the provision of food aid for the displaced Ahmadiyah members. Electricity supply to the building was cut two years ago.
“If we have to be disbanded, then we can do nothing else except surrender and wait for God’s trial because God’s justice is much better than human trials,” Zulhair, one of the displaced, said on Sunday.
Zulhair was commenting on remarks made by Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali last week. The minister had said that Ahmadiyah should be banned because it had angered mainstream Muslims and if they were allowed to practice their beliefs, conflict would escalate.
A 2008 government decree named Ahmadiyah a deviant sect. Though it stopped short of banning the sect completely, it banned its members from publicly practicing their faith and spreading their beliefs.
Zulhair said that his community has made every possible effort to convince the rest of the country that their teachings are not different from those of mainstream Muslims.
“So, if they still consider us to be deviant, then we’ll just wait for God’s justice.”
Nurhidayati, 30, said that she and the rest of her community will stay faithful to the sect’s teachings, even if that means they will become outcasts.
Nurhidayati’s one-year-old daughter Melati is one of five babies born at the shelter, including a pair of twins named Transiti and Transita.
“The other children were having a very hard time in the beginning at school because they are Ahmadiyah children. For instance, those kids only got a piece of paper as their report while other kids would receive a book,” said Nurhidayati. “But, after a long fight, our kids now finally get the same treatment as other children.”
For Nuratun, a 47-year-old mother of three, life has also been tough. She said that for Idul Fitri, a lavish feast for most Muslims, she could only fry some flour-coated peanuts for her children.
“This is the fifth Idul Fitri in this shelter, the fifth Lebaran we have had to spend in this very sad place,” Nuratun said.
Nuratun and the other Ahmadiyah women sell goods at traditional markets to make a living, but they make just enough money to buy rice for everyday consumption. “
We totally depend on our husbands to pay for the kids’ schools because we no longer receive any help from the government,” she said.