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MUI Won’t Back Down on Ahmadiyah Fatwa
February 18, 2011
The Indonesian Council of Ulema says it has no intention of backing down from its position outlined in a 2005 fatwa issued against the Ahmadiyah sect.
Ma’ruf Amin, head of the fatwa division at the council, or MUI, said on Thursday that the 2005 edict clearly identified the minority sect as a heretical one, adding that followers of the Ahmadiyah were apostates.
“Ahmadiyah exists outside the correct path of Islam. To all those who have followed this sect, we ask them to return to the right path, as laid out by the Koran and the Hadith [words and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad],” Ma’ruf said.
“This sect has made many Muslims feel uneasy. The government must ban the sect and disband the organization,” Ma’ruf said, adding that the Ahmadiyah had previously been banned elsewhere following the 1985 Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah.
Indonesian ministers and a string of lawmakers have insisted that the only way for the violence to end is for the Ahmadiyah to disband themselves.
The outgoing National Defense Agency (Lemhanas) governor, Muladi, said on Thursday that the existence of the Ahmadiyah here would cease to be a problem if followers of the sect declared their faith a new religion separate from Islam.
“They should form a new religion. One outside Islam,” Muladi said, shortly after the swearing-in ceremony of Budi Susilo Soepandji, his successor as the new governor of Lemhanas.
“Disbanding the Ahmadiyah would be a violation of human rights — unless the Ahmadiyah themselves had violated the joint decree [SKB] of three ministers [referring to the 2008 decree banning Ahmadiyah from spreading its faith], in which case the government could lawfully sanction the disbandment.
“But if not, Ahmadiyah should declare that it is not part of Islam, or be declared as being outside Islam,” Muladi added.
But Ahmadiyah leaders insisted on Wednesday night that the sect was a branch of Islam and would not declare itself a new and separate religion.
“Ahmadiyah is still part of Islam and cannot be separated from Islam because Ahmadiyah was born from Islam,” Ahmadiyah leader Ahmad Basij said in a hearing with House Commission VIII, which oversees religious affairs.
He said the sect recognized the core tenet of Islam: that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.
In the aftermath of a recent deadly attack on the Ahmadiyah in Banten province, Deputy House Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso said last week that the group should “leave Islam and declare a new religion” if its followers could not “repent, recognize their mistake and come back to mainstream Islam.”
Mainstream Muslim groups have accused Ahmadiyah members of heresy, saying that they profess their founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, to be the final prophet of Islam — a tenet that runs directly against Islamic beliefs that reserve that claim for Muhammad.
The accusation is disputed by the Ahmadiyah community.
Syamsi Ali, a senior member of Ahmadiyah, said it was wrong to believe that the sect follow any holy book other than the Koran.
“Please understand that our holy book is the Koran, not the Tazkirah,” Syamsi said.
Ahmad Basij further denied claims that Ahmadis were socially insular and exclusive.
Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono would not react to threats made by the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) against his administration, in response to the president’s call that violent groups be disbanded.
“We will monitor the activities of the existing mass organization. There is no direct response or comment [from the president],” Julian Aldrin said.
He said every organization was obliged to adhere to the 1985 Law on Mass Organizations, adding that legal action would be taken against any groups violating the law. Nurfika Osman & Markus Junianto Sihaloho