Recommend UsEmail this PageeGazetteAlislam.org
Indonesian Ahmadiyah Again Driven From Lombok Homes
Fitri R. | November 19, 2010
Mataram. Twelve Ahmadiyah families who returned to their homes in Gegerung village in West Lombok shortly after being chased out in 2006 have once again been ordered to leave.
The 50 Ahmadiyah members, who had been back home for the past three years, were from a larger group forced to stay at the Transito temporary shelter in Mataram, the provincial capital, after they were driven from their homes by other residents of Gegerung.
However, in response to a protest against their presence by villagers at a town hall meeting on Friday, local authorities conducted a raid on the homes of the Ahmadiyah families shortly before noon prayers, forcing men, women and children to flee with their belongings.
The families were forced to return to the Transito shelter, although two individuals, a man and his aging father, have chosen to remain behind.
At the meeting that prompted the raid, presided over by Gegerung village chief Syahudin, Lingsar subdistrict chief Agus Sukma Aryana and Lingsar Police Chief Syamnurdin, the villagers said they could not accept the return of the Ahmadiyah members.
“We remain opposed to their presence in this village,” said one of the residents.
“They are a stain on this village and must be cleaned out.”
Another resident said that if the authorities did not order the families to relocate, “then the people will have to do it.”
“Don’t force the people to take matters into our own hands,” one resident said.
During the raids, overseen by Syahudin and Syamnurdin, the village chief asked the stricken families to return to the shelter.
“We ask with all respect that all Ahmadiyah members prepare to leave this village and return to Transito,” he said.
The subdistrict chief said he would oppose any move by the Ahmadiyah families to return to their homes, and asked other villagers not to resort to violence.
“This case will be resolved by the administration,” he said.
Syamnurdin ordered several of his officers to stand guard outside the deserted Ahmadiyah homes to ensure that residents did not vandalize or destroy them, following threats.
He also warned the two Ahmadiyah men who chose to stay on to “leave before something bad happens to you.” However, villagers had already burned down the home of the older man by then.
Zulhair, the younger Ahmadiyah member who chose to stay, blamed the latest surge in animosity toward the minority group on comments made by West Lombok district head Zaini Arony that the Ahmadiyah would have their civic rights respected.
He said the comments were printed in local news reports, which he cut out and took to the Gegerung village hall for confirmation on Nov. 10.
He added an official at the village hall had insisted that Zaini’s decision would never be accepted by Gegerung residents, who were opposed to the presence of the Ahmadiyah in their village.
“Why must we always be chased out, over and over again?” asked Gegerung Ahmadiyah member Sarim Ahmad.
“What did we do wrong?”
Sarim returned home three years earlier to resume farming his land that had been neglected for a whole year after the events of 2006.
“If I farm, at least I’m making a living, whereas at Transito I have no hope for a meaningful life,” he said.