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After East Java, West Java Bans All of Ahmadiyah’s Activities
Yuli Krisna & Eras Poke | March 04, 2011
Bandung. West Java joined a string of other regional governments on Thursday in banning activities of the Ahmadiyah sect.
West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan said he issued a gubernatorial regulation, No. 12 of 2011, banning the activities of the Ahmadiyah in the province. He said it was effective immediately.
“This gubernatorial regulation is a follow-up to the joint ministerial decree and a 12-point joint agreement which was also signed by representatives of the Ahmadiyah,” Ahmad said.
He was referring to a 2008 joint ministerial decree that prohibits the Ahmadiyah from practicing their faith in public and spreading their beliefs. The decree, which stopped short of banning the sect altogether, has been criticized by human rights activists as it is frequently used to justify violence against the Ahmadiyah community.
The joint agreement Ahmad referred to was recently signed and outlined some of the prohibitions on Ahmadiyah activity.
He said the gubernatorial regulation was based on the desire of the government to prevent any social conflict from breaking out because of the activities of the Ahmadiyah, which many mainstream Muslims consider a deviant sect.
“We are not in a position to dissolve the Ahmadiyah organization, but we are in a position to follow up on the joint ministerial decree and the 12-point agreement,” h e said.
The regulation prohibits Ahmadis from trying to spread Ahmadiyah teachings orally, in writing or through electronic media. That also means all signboards containing the name of the organization must be taken down from public places, including mosques and schools. Ahmadiyah attributes may no longer be visible anywhere in West Java.
“Ahmadiyah mosques are mosques for all. All Muslims should be allowed to enter those mosques,” Ahmad said. He added that religious authorities will also organize Islamic events in mosques identified as Ahmadiyah mosques to put an end to alleged exclusivism there.
The West Java regulation forbids people from launching any unlawful action against the Ahmadiyah community, but it also calls on the public to help monitor and report any violation by Ahmadiyah members.
Saerodji, who heads the West Java office for religious affairs, said there were some 17,000 Ahmadis in the province.
Sugiyanto, head of the West Java High Prosecutor’s Office, said the regulation was aimed at protecting Ahmadis from the attacks they had experienced in the past.
“We want to protect the Ahmadiyah community from anarchic actions. If there are violations of the 12-point agreement, let the authorities deal with it,” Sugiyanto said.
“This is no longer a mere call but has been laid down into a written regulations. The public should not take matters into their own hands.”
West Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Suparni Parto said the regulation was a good solution and added that police would now no longer hesitate to take action against whomever violated it.
The spokesman for the Ahmadiyah community in the western part of West Java, Rafiq Ahmad Sumadi Gandakusuma, told the Jakarta Globe they had not been invited to discuss the new regulation.
Earlier this week, authorities in Surabaya, the country’s second-largest city and capital of East Java, issued a similar regulation banning the display of any Ahmadiyah attributes and any efforts by the group to spread its faith in the province.
In the province of Banten, Lebak district recently said it would issue a bylaw banning the Ahmadiyah, and Pandeglang district already issued such a decree on Feb. 21.