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Solemn Celebrations for Displaced Lombok Ahmadis
Fitri | November 17, 2010
Mataram. Some 250 members of the Ahmadiyah sect on Wednesday performed their Idul Adha prayers in the transit shelter they have been living in for almost five years after their homes in Lombok were razed by hard-liners.
“We should not blame God or feel that there has been no greater suffering than what we are going through now,” Nasrudin, an Ahmadiyah scholar who was leading the prayers, said during his sermon.
In February 2006, thousands of hard-line Muslims burned down homes and mosques belonging to followers of the minority Islamic sect in Lingsar, West Lombok district, leaving more than 40 families homeless.
About half of the families continue to live in the temporary shelter, a former transit dormitory for hajj pilgrims in West Nusa Tenggara’s provincial capital, while the others have gone to stay with relatives.
Despite the small community’s ongoing tribulations, no tears were shed this year. “We are tired of crying; what we can do now is strengthen ourselves to accept whatever we have to face,” said one Ahmadiyah member who declined to be named.
Nasrudin said some people at the shelter had become resigned to their fate. “One of the members of the congregation even asked not to be moved from the shelter because he found this place beautiful and pleasing, as a way to heaven,” he said.
Nasrudin called on the community to remain unified in the face of hardship. “We are in the spotlight and we should not be torn apart just because of trivial matters,” he said.
Two cows and four goats had been donated to help the displaced community celebrate the qurban ritual, or traditional animal sacrifice. “These are from our brothers and sisters in Jakarta,” one of the organizers said of the animals.
Ahmadiyah communities have been the target of attacks by hard-line Muslims in several regions, mostly in Lombok and West Java, in recent years. They claim to also face continued official discrimination, having difficulties obtaining jobs and processing official paperwork.
Followers of Ahmadiyah, a sect founded in India in 1889, profess that the group’s founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was the Messiah, a belief that is contested by mainstream Muslims.
Ahmadiyah representatives have had to dismiss claims the group does not believe Muhammad was the last prophet and does not consider the Koran its holy book.