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Military Intervention on Ahmadiyah Legal: Patrialis
Markus Junianto Sihaloho | March 16, 2011
Members of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front have demanded the government declare Ahmadiyah a forbidden sect. (JG Photo)
Amid allegations that the Indonesian military has conducted operations designed to intimidate Ahmadiyah followers into renouncing their faith, Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said on Wednesday that such actions could not be considered a legal violation of human rights.
“As long as their [the military’s] purpose is to keep Ahmadiyah from becoming a target of violence, then what they did is not a problem,” Patrialis said. “It’s not a violation of human rights principles, they are just helping Ahmadiyah members.”
On Tuesday, the military denied that it had ordered the Siliwangi command in West Java to encourage mainstream Muslims to occupy Ahmadiyah mosques and preach “the true path” of Islam.
That statement followed news that army Maj. Gen. Moeldoko, the head of the Siliwangi command, had called on Muslims to conduct “an attack of prayer rugs” in mosques as a way of countering the beleaguered minority Islamic sect without direct violence.
Human rights watchdogs have called the effort an attempt to forcibly convert Ahmadis.
Patrialis urged the public to see the military’s action in a positive light, stressing that such intervention is legal, since the police requested the military to help them protect Ahmadiyah members.
“The police and the military can help at each other,” he said.
The House of Representatives had earlier demanded the military answer allegations that the West Java military unit was intimidating Ahmadiyah followers. Lawmakers on Tuesday said such operations possibly violated Indonesian law.