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Raging FPI Mob Disrupts Annual Ahmadiyah Prayers in Makassar
Rahmat | January 29, 2011
Makassar. Dozens of protesters from the Islamic Defenders Front surrounded an Ahmadiyah center in Makassar on Friday, demanding that the sect disband.
Clad in white, members of hard-line group, also known as the FPI, arrived on motorcycles and tried to storm the center where around 50 Ahmadis were holding an annual prayer gathering called Jalzah Salanah.
More than 50 armed officers from the Mamajang Police and Makassar Police prevented the demonstrators from entering the center.
The FPI, however, continued to chant and yell threats at the panicked Ahmadiyah members, who hid inside a mosque in the center on Jalan Antang and locked the gates.
“We give you 24 hours to disband and bring down that sign that reads Jamaah Ahmadiyah,” Habib Reza, leader of the FPI in South Sulawesi, shouted during Friday’s rally.
“If you don’t do this, we will come back on Saturday and forcibly tear it down,” he added.
Habib cited a 2005 edict issued by the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) and a 2008 state decree that deemed the Ahmadiyah a deviant Islamic sect and restricted its religious activities.
Mainstream Muslims reject the Ahmadis’ belief that sect founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the last prophet, which runs counter to Islamic tenets reserving that distinction for the Prophet Muhammad. [**]
“All of you are atheists! Come back to Islam,” Habib said, as the crowd chanted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great.”
“If you refuse to disband yourselves, you are welcome to enter any other religion. Do not use the name of Islam,” Habib said.
Police officers later attempted to ease tensions by offering to mediate between FPI and Ahmadiyah leaders.
However, Habib said he would only speak to the head of the South Sulawesi Ahmadiyah community if he agreed to “immediately disband” the sect that day.
After the protest, the hard-liners dispersed at around 6:30 p.m. and promised to return to the Ahmadiyah center the next day.
But after evening prayers, the protesters flocked to the site again and held speeches for another 20 minutes.
According to Ismail Hasani, from the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, there were about 50 recorded cases of violence or intimidation against the Ahmadiyah last year.