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No special measures for Ahmadis: Fauzi Bowo
Hans David Tampubolon and Irawaty Wardhani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
The Jakarta administration will not put in place special measures to prevent attacks on Ahmadis, and instead will leave the safety of the sect’s followers in the hands of the Jakarta Police and God, Governor Fauzi Bowo said Wednesday.
“We will not step up our alert status or anything. We will only intensify our approach to community groups and religious leaders at all levels. Only God can decide what will happen next and God willing Jakarta will remain peaceful,” Fauzi told reporters on Wednesday.
Fauzi’s statement came hours after Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Sutarman said it was possible there would be more attacks on Ahmadis in Greater Jakarta in the immediate future.
“Our intelligence report says that there is the potential for similar incidents to happen here,” Sutarman told reporters, referring to Sunday’s attack on Ahmadis in Pandeglang, Banten, in which three people were killed.
Sutarman said that to prevent another attack on Ahmadis, the city police would step up surveillance around Ahmadiyah communities in Greater Jakarta.
The police have dispatched officers to guard 13 Ahmadiyah communities in Greater Jakarta.
The police, Sutarman said, would use excessive force against anyone who attacked Ahmadis, adding that he had told his officers to shoot on sight.
Ahmadis, he said, were regular citizens and deserved to be protected by the state regardless of their beliefs.
“Religious interpretations of Ahmadiyah are not our problem. Our main concern is the public’s safety,” he said.
Fauzi said he did not believe that there would be more attacks against Ahmadis anytime soon, adding that current security was sufficient to prevent such an attack.
“I have met with the Jakarta military commander and have agreed that we will coordinate on all necessary steps to safeguard the city together with the Jakarta Police,” Fauzi said.
Following the Pandeglang attack, Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah said Ahmadis ought to repent so that they would not be made the target of more attacks by Muslims.
Separately, Ahmadiyah leader Zafrullah Pontoh said that he could appreciate what the city government and the police had done to prevent attacks against Ahmadis, but added that what mattered most was that the government would guarantee that violence would not happen again.
“The attack is like a flame. If it grows bigger, it will become very hard to put out and the society as a whole will be severely damaged,” Zafrullah told The Jakarta Post.
“In a healthy society, we would not have violent persecution of religious beliefs or ways of life,” he said.
Ahmadis identify themselves as Muslims, abide by the Koran and believe that Muhammad was the last law-bearing prophet, but that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of Ahmadiyah, was the last prophet. Mainstream Muslims believe Muhammad was the final prophet.
Religious Affairs Minister Sur-yadharma Ali has said Ahmadiyah should be “disbanded”.
Suryadharma is also the chairman of the United Development Party (PPP), an Islamist party.
The Ka’bah Youth Movement, which is affiliated with the PPP, was implicated in a mob attack in Temanggung, Central Java, on Tuesday, in which three churches were burned down.