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Ahmadis may be relocated to an island ‘for their own good’
Panca Nugraha, The Jakarta Post, Mataram
It is proposed that Ahmadiyah followers be relocated to an island, some 60 kilometers south of West Nusa Tenggara capital Mataram, as the West Lombok regency administration is seeking “to provide protection for these displaced people”.
“We have discussed the plan in a coordination meeting with the regency’s officials and community and religious leaders. They’re probably going to be relocated,” the regency administration’s spokesman Ispan Junaedi said on Tuesday.
Over a hundred of the followers of the Islamic sect have taken shelter at Wisma Transito building in Mataram after being kicked out of their homes in Ketapang hamlet in Lingsar district on Feb. 4, 2006.
West Lombok Regent Zainy Arony had earlier told reporters the relocation plan was intended to protect Ahmadiyah followers.
He said the plan was made based on human rights consideration since under the law, and despite their beliefs, they are Indonesian citizens, who were protected.
“We also hope the provincial administration to play a role in assisting solve the problem,” Zainy said.
Ahmadiyah followers said they did not know about the plan.
“I just found out about the plan after an interview with a BBC London journalist. We regret the plan has not involved us,” Ahmadiyah provincial chapter head Jauzi Djafar told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
He said the relocation plan may be an acceptable solution for the refugees, who have been denied their rights for the past five years, but they had to be involved in the plan.
He said that the 127 Ahmadiyah followers living in the shelter were still hoping they could return to their homes in Ketapang hamlet.
He said the regency administration would need to provide houses and to ensure their safety.
“Why don’t they just compensate them for their assets lost in Ketapang so they can find new places to live outside the shelter?” Jauzi said
“And if there is guarantee of their safety, why there is a need to be relocated? Why not return them to their hometown as before? We’re confused about this plan.”
Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali claimed in Medan, North Sumatra on Monday that disbanding Ahmadiyah “would cause fewer problems than keeping it in existence”, insisting this was not discriminatory since the sect spread false Islamic teachings.
He said that the 2008 joint ministerial decree on the sect, which banned the Ahmadis from propagating their views — allegedly leading to attacks on the sect by hardline Muslims, would not be changed.
The latest attack against the sect, believed to have some 200,000 followers across the country, took place in Bogor, West Java, when some 20 people threw stones and set fire to Ahmadiyah houses and places of worship in Ciampea. A mosque, five houses, a car and two motorcycles were burned in the attack.