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Home Worldwide Indonesia February, 2011 Govt urges restraint over…
Govt urges restraint over calls to ban Ahmadiyah

Sun, 02/13/2011 12:15 PM
Govt urges restraint over calls to ban Ahmadiyah
The Jakarta Post

The government, faced with increasing calls to dissolve Ahmadiyah, has urged a softer approach, says an official.

“The government should be conscientious in this case,” Bahrul Hayat, the secretary-general at the Religious Affairs Ministry, was quoted as saying Saturday by Antara news agency.

“We will hold talks and hearings with related institutions, including Islamic organizations and [representatives from] Ahmadiyah,” he said.

He called on community and religious leaders to help create restraint and self-control among people “and comprehend the essence of the joint ministerial decree [against] Ahmadiyah”.

The Cikeusik incident in which three Ahmadiyah followers were killed last Sunday was the latest in the relentless persecution of the Islamic sect, which hardliners say deviated from Islam.

“We expect community and religious leaders to play an active role in creating dialogue and helping restrain the public from descending to anarchy,” Bahrul said.

The Cikeusik incident prompted the removal of Brig. Gen. Agus Kusnadi from his position as Banten Police chief. He will be replaced by Brig. Gen. Putut Eko Bayuseno.

Tight security measures continue to be imposed at Umbulan village in Banten’s Cikeusik district, as well as in other parts in the country where Ahmadiyah followers live.

“We’re maintaining a visible presence as the investigations continue,” a police officer was quoted as saying by Antara. There are a reported 60 officers stationed at the area.

In Jambi, security was heightened, especially in Jambi municipality, Sorolangun and Kerinci regencies, where 150 Ahmadis live.

Adj. Sr. Comr. Almansyah warned the public against being provoked into committing violence.

Ahmadiyah followers admitted that they had become more cautious following the attacks on Ahmadis in Cikeusik.

“We must be cautious and worried about possible attacks, but we overcome our fears by submitting our fate to God while we remain alert,” Nasiruddin, an exiled Ahmadi housed at the Wisma Transitto shelter in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, said.

The shelter houses 36 Ahmadi families who were forcibly removed from their village in West Lombok.

While reaffirming pledges to protect Ahmadis, authorities in Madiun, East Java, called on followers to not openly identify as Ahmadis until tensions had eased.

“They need to do this for their own good,” Sutoyo, the head of the Madiun branch of the Islamic Council of Indonesia, said.

— Jon Afrizal contributed to the reports from jamb

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