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Fresh Attacks on Ahmadis as Peace Dialogues Begin
March 24, 2011
Bogor. Fresh from attending a trial hearing of men accused of burning down schools and an Ahmadi mosque in Bogor last October, some 20 men on motorcycles on Wednesday vandalized the home of an Ahmadi in the Cibuntu Kaum village of Ciampea.
The home belonged to Laswati, the mother of an Ahmadi leader, Ahmad Hidayat. Ahmad said the men on motorcycles stoned the house, breaking windows and damaging the roof.
“The attackers were a mob who had just returned from the Cisalada hearing,” Ahmad said following a trial hearing at the Cibinong District Court on the 2009 attack, which saw a mob of hundreds ransack and burn down houses, schools and a mosque in Cisalada village in Ciampea.
The village was home to 600 followers of the Ahmadiyah minority sect, which is deemed deviant by mainstream Muslims.
“According to witnesses [at Wednesday’s attack], there were at least five police officers present at the scene,” Ahmad said.
“They just watched the stoning and did nothing. Our position is really threatened now. This is the second time they have attacked Ahmadis in Ciampea.”
There were no reports of injuries. The attack came on the same day a national dialogue aiming to address the intimidation and violence faced by members of the Ahmadiyah was held in Jakarta.
Organized by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the dialogue was attended by representatives from both liberal and hard-line organizations, but not the Ahmadiyah. The Indonesia Ahmadiyah Congregation (JAI) cited the short notice given for declining the invitation.
Zafrullah Pontoh, the JAI’s national secretary, said on Monday that the invitation had only been received on Friday, adding that the group had only been allocated four seats at the conference.
Attended by representatives from the Islamic Defenders Front, the Nahdlatul Ulama, the Muhammadiyah and the Indonesian Ulema Council to name a few, Wednesday’s talks, according to the Detik online news portal, saw a majority of the representatives agreeing to the complete disbandment of the Ahmadiyah.
“We are very disappointed that the Ahmadiyah did not send any representatives” ministry official Zainuddin Daulay said.
“It was a forum where they could have voiced their concerns, stated what it is that they need and how can we accommodate them,” he added.
“We are only here to do what is best for the Ahmadis.”
Zainuddin said the forum heard discussions from nongovernmental organizations, academics and Islamic scholars. “We are going to have two more meetings before coming to a decision,” he said. “We hope [the Ahmadis] can participate.”
Meanwhile, in a separate development, the Supreme Court has ruled that the trials of those allegedly behind the bloody violence that targeted the Ahmadiyah in Cikeusik, would be transferred from Banten to Jakarta.
Banten Governor Ratu Atut Chosiyah confirmed on Wednesday that Indonesia’s highest court had agreed to move the trail venue to Jakarta for safety reasons.
“As governor, I’m responsible for maintaining peace and stability in Banten,” Atut said at the Presidential Office in Jakarta. “Though I haven’t received an official response, I’ve been informed that the Supreme Court has approved our request.”
Atut said the province requested the move to prevent further clashes between Ahmadis and Cikeusik residents.
Students from Islamic boarding schools in Banten had previously threatened to stage demonstrations in Banten if the trials were transferred. Atut said the Banten Prosecutors’ Office had also requested the trials be transferred.