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Home Worldwide Indonesia October, 2010 Pekanbaru closes down …
Pekanbaru closes down Ahmadiyah building

Wed, 10/06/2010 10:29 AM

Pekanbaru closes down Ahmadiyah building

Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Public pressure prompted the Pekanbaru city administration to finally close down a house of worship owned by followers of the Ahmadiyah sect.

The house of worship — a musholla or small mosque — is located on Jl. Cipta Karya, Tuah Karya subdistrict, Tampan district.

Deputy Mayor Erizal Muluk said the building was sealed off following growing demands from Muslim organizations over fear of destabilizing religious harmony in the city.

“This is more a preventative measure. We closed down the house of worship before a possible escalation of conflict in the community,” Erizal said Tuesday.

Followers of Ahmadiyah have been under increased persecution recently from hard-line Muslim groups for their religious teachings, which critics say strayed from true Islam.

The latest incident was an arson attack on Ahmadis’ houses and places of worship in Bogor, West Java, last week, prompting the government to consider reviewing a 2008 joint ministerial decree.

Erizal denied accusations that the closure stripped the Ahmadis of the right to gather and to worship according to their beliefs.

“We sealed off their building for their own good,” he said.

Ahmadiyah followers, he added, claimed to be Muslims, however, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and other institutions have declared the sect deviant.

“If they are Muslims like the rest, why should they build their own houses of worship and separate themselves from the rest while praying? They can join others at the nearest mosque,” he said.

The closure, Erizal added, would also eliminate the perception that the house of worship was exclusive to Ahmadiyah followers.

The local deputy chairman of Ahmadiyah, Susilo Haryono, said they did not object to the closure in principle, but that the act required a written warrant.

“There should have been a written decision, not just a verbal one,” he said.

Ahmadis established themselves in the city in 1991, and they now number 52.

“So far we have never had any conflict with others,” Susilo said.

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